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Volume XXV, 1946 

Information Department 


New York 7, N. Y. 

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SPRING, 1946 

Finding Out What People Think of Us, by Arthur H. Richardson 

and C. Theodore Sinifli 5 

Three-Minute Furloughs, by Harold A. White 20 

Bell Laboratories' Role in Victory — Part I. by Philip C. Jones . ... 37 
Western Electric Experts with the Armed Forces, by /. Stedman 

Ward 54 

SUMMER, 1946 

Putting Disabled Veterans Back to Work, by Lazvrence L. Ar man- 
trout 77 

Twenty Years of 'Talking Movies' : an Anniversary, by Frank H. 

Lovette and Stanley Watkins 82 

Command Circuits, by Eldon Nichols 101 

Bell Laboratories' Role in Victory — Part II 116 

AUTUMN, 1946 

Hiring a Quarter of a Million Women, by Raymond A. Steelman . . 133 
The Bell System's Progress in Television Networks, by Laurance 

G. Woodford, Keith S. McHugh, and Oliver E. Buckley 147 

"Service to the Nation in Peace and War," by William H. Harrison 159 

Farewell to WEAF, by Keith S. McHugh \ 162 

Damaged Telephone Cables Send Their Own Alarms, by Leon W. 

Germain 163 

Footnotes to American History 174 

Philadelphia Goes "2-5," by Harold S. LeDuc 175 

Telephones in the Post-War World, by James R. McGozvan 183 

Notes on Mobile Radio Service, by H. I. Phillips 186 

WINTER, 1946-1947 

Progress in Extending Bell Rural Telephone Service, by John J. 

Hanselman and Harold S. Osborne 193 


1250380 OCT 1 1947 


The Coast Guard Operates through Communications, by Admiral 

JoscpJi F. Farley 203 

A Sahite to the Spirit of Service, by Walter S. Gifford 224 

The Growing Use of Radio in the Bell System, by Francis M. Ryan 225 

Crisis in River Grove, by Hugh Moffett 238 

"Hello, England": A One-way Transatlantic Talk, by IJllliaiii P. 

Banning 248 

Opportunity, by Leroy A. Wilson 252 

Memo to a Girl at a Switchboard, by Harold W . Stephens 254 

Nassau — The Bell System's Conservation Specialist, by William 

A. Schench 256 

Commercial Broadcasting Pioneer : The WEAF Experiment, 1922- 

1926, A Book Review 267 




Issue Page 

"Philadelphia Goes '2-5' " by Harold S. LeDuc— 4 photos . . . Au 176 

American Telephone and Telegraph Company: 

"Crisis in River Grove", by Hugh Moffett — 7 photos Wi ' 238 

"Farewell to WEAK" by Keith S. McHugh Au 162 


Adjusting anemometer on coast guard ocean weather ship 

—photo Wi 192 

Armantrout, Lawrence L.: Biographical sketch — port Su 74 

"Putting Disabled Veterans Back to Work" Su 77 

Arnold, General H. H.: Commends Western Electric engineers ..Sp 63 


Banning, William P.: Biographical sketch — port Wi 202 

"Commercial Broadcasting Pioneer: The WEAF Experi- 
ment, 1922-1926" : Book review— port Wi 267 

"'Hello, England': A One-Way Transatlantic Talk"— 2 

photos Wi 248 

Becker, Captain A. L. : group port Sp 3 

Bell, Alexander Graham: 

"Footnotes to American History. Alexander Graham Bell 
gets a wrong number during one of the early demon- 
strations of the telephone" — cartoon Au 174 

Bell Laboratories: 

"Bell Laboratories' Role in Victory. I" — Philip C. Jones — 

1 7 photos Sp Z6 

"Bell Laboratories' Role in Victory. 11" — 18 photos, 1 

diagram .■ Su 116 

"Bell System's Progress in Television Networks, The" by 
Laurance G. Woodford, Keith S. McHugh and Oliver 

E. Buckley — 5 photos, 1 map Au 147 


"Command Circuits" by Eldon Nichols — 14 photos Su 101 

"Crisis in River Grove" by Hugh MofYett— 7 photos Wi 238 

"Damaged Telephone Cables Send Their Own Alarms" by 

Leon W. Germain — 6 photos, 1 graph Au 163 

"Growing Use of Radio in tlic Bell System, The" by I'raiicis 

AL Ryan— 9 photos, 2 charts, 3 maps Wi 225 



Issue Page 
"rrogress in Extending Bell Rural Telephone Service" by 
John J. Hanselnian and Harold S. Osborne — 4 photos, 

3 charts, 1 map Wi 193 

"Telephone Hour" announcement of metal lens to focus 

micro-waves Su 115 

"Bell Laboratories' Role in Victory. I" by Philip C. Jones — 

1 7 photos Sp 36 

"Bell Laboratories' Role in Victory. II" — 18 photos, 1 diagram . .Su 116 
Bell System: 

"Coast Guard Operates Through Communications, The" by 
Admiral Joseph F. Farley, USCG — 16 photos, 1 map, 

1 chart ". Wi 203 

"Growing Use of Radio in the Bell System, The" by Francis 

M. Ryan — 9 photos, 2 charts, 3 maps Wi 225 

"Nassau — The Bell System's Conservation Specialist" by 

William A. Scheuch— 8 photos Wi 256 

"Progress in Extending Bell Rural Telephone Service" by 
John J. Hanselman and Harold S. Osborne — 4 photos, 

3 charts, 1 map Wi 193 

"Bell System's Progress in Television Networks, The" by 
Laurance G. Woodford, Keith S. McHugh and Oliver 

E. Buckley — 5 photos, 1 map Au 147 • 


Armantrout, Lawrence L. — port Su 74 

Banning, William P.— port Wi 202 


Buckley, Oliver E. — port Au 131 

Farley, Admiral Joseph F. — port Wi 190 

Germain, Leon W. — port Au 131 


Hanselman, John J. — port Wi 190 

Harrison, William H. — port Au 131 


Jones, Philip C. — port Sp 3 

LeDuc, Harold S.— port Au 187 

Lovette, Frank H.— port Su 74 

McGowan, James A. — port Au 187 

McHugh, Keith S. — port Au 130 

Moffett, Hugh— port Wi 191 


Nichols, Eldon — port Su 75 

Osborne, Harold S.— port Wi 190 

Richardson, Arthur H. — group port Sp 2 

Ryan, Francis M. — port Wi 191 

Scheuch, William A. — port Wi 191 

Smith, C. Theodore — group port Sp 2 

Steelman, Raymond A Au 130 

Ward, J. Stedman — group port Sp 3 

Watkins, Stanley — port Su 75 

White, Harold— port Sp 2 



Issue Page 

Woodford, Laurance G. — port Au 130 

Buckley, Oliver E. — "Bell System's Progress in Television Net- 
works, The. Ill"— photo Au 154 

Biographical sketch — port Au 131 



"Coast Guard Operates Through Communications, The" by 
Admiral Joseph F. Farley, USCG — 16 photos, 1 map, 

1 chart Wi 203 ' 

"Damaged Telephone Cables Send Their Own Alarms" by 

Leon W. Germain — 6 photos, 1 graph Au 163 

"Nassau — The Bell System's Conservation Specialist" by 

William A. Scheuch— 8 photos Wi 256 

Carriers — Power Line: 

"Progress in Extending Bell Rural Telephone Service" by 
John J. Hanselman and Harold S. Osborne — 4 photos, 

3 charts, 1 map Wi 193 


"Footnotes to American Historj'. Alexander Graham Bell 
gets a wrong number during one of the early demon- 
strations of the telephone" Au 174 

Carty, J. J.: " 'Hello, England': A One-Way Transatlantic Talk" 

by William P. Banning — 2 photos Wi 248 


Efifect of toll advertising campaign on toll usage of residence 

customers Sp 14 

Effect of visit to a Telephone Company "open house" on 

attitude toward service — chart Sp 14 

Gas pressure testing-graph of pressure readings Au 168 

Knowledge and attitude toward the company Sp 15 

Rural and urban telephones. Bell System Wi 194 

Ship telephone service Wi 230 

Symbols and legends from coast guard communications 

chart Wi 223 

Churchill, Winston— "On the Matter of Reports" Su 127 

"Coast Guard Operates Through Communications, The" by Ad- 
miral Joseph F. Farley, USCG — 16 photos, 1 map, 1 

chart Wi 203 

Coaxial Cables: 

"Bell System's Progress in Television Networks, The" by 
Laurance G. Woodford, Keith S. McHugh and Oliver 

E. Buckley — 5 photos, 1 map Au 147 


"Command Circuits" by Eldon Nichols — 14 photos Su 101 

"Commercial Broadcasting Pioneer: The WEAF Experiment, 
1922-1926" by William P. Banning — book review — 
photo Wi 267 



Issue Page 

"Bell System's Progress in Television Networks, The" 
talks by Laurance G. Woodford, Keith S. McHugh and 
Oliver E. Buckley at 2d Television Conference of the 
Television Broadcasters' Association, X. Y., Oct. 10- 

11, 1946—5 photos, 1 map *. . An 147 

"Crisis in River Grove" by Hugh MoflFett — 7 photos Wi 238 


"Damaged Telephone Cables Send Their Own Alarms" by 

Leon \\". Germain — (> photos, 1 graph Au 163 


How the sonar "antenna" is lowered and retracted Su 117 

Location in frequency spectrum of Bell System radio serv- 
ices Wi 227 

Xumber of telephones, Springdale, Ark., at beginning and 

end of 1946 Wi 196 

Dial Systems: 

"Philadelphia Goes '2-5'" by Harold S. LeDuc — \ photos ...\u 176 


"Philadelphia Goes '2-5'" by Harold S. LeDuc — 4 photos . .Au 176 


Echols, Major-General O. P.: Commends Western Electric field 

engineers Sp 63 

Editorial from Main Line Times, Ardmore, Pa., on Bell System 

public relations Au 158 

Electrical Research Products Incorporated: 

"Twenty Years of 'Talking Muvies": an .•\nniversary" by 

Frank H. Lovette and Stanley Watkins — 12 photos ....Su 82 

"Western Electric Experts with the Armed Forces" by J. 

Stedman Ward Sp 54 

Employees in Service: 

Tribute to Bell System men and women in armed forces. 

"Telephone Hour." November 11, 1946 Au 188 


"Hiring a Quarter of a Million Women" by Raymond S. 

Steelman — 13 photos .^u 134 

"Putting Disabled \'eterans Back to Work" by Lawrence 

L. Armantrout Su 77 

"Service to the Nation in Peace and War" by William H. 

Harrison Au 159 


"Farewell to WEAF" by Keith S. McHugh Au 162 

Farley, .Admiral Ju>eph F".: Biographical sketch — port Wi 190 



Issue Page 
"Coast Guard Operates Through Communications, The" — 

16 photos, 1 map, 1 chart Wi 203 

Federal Communications Commission: > 

"Growing Use of Radio in the Bell System, The" by Francis 

M. Ryan — 9 photos, 2 charts, 3 maps Wi 225 

Juicy atom speech reported to FCC as subversive Wi 247 

Field Engineering Force: 

"Western Electric Experts with the Armed Forces" by J. 

Stedman Ward — 10 photos Sp 54 

"Finding Out What People Think of Us" by Arthur H. Rich- 
ardson and Theodore C. Smith — 10 photos, 3 diagrams ..Sp 5 
Fires : 

"Crisis in River Grove" by Hugh MotTett— 7 photos Wi 238 


"Damaged Telephone Cables Send Their Own Alarms" by 

Leon W. Germain — 6 photos, 1 graph Au 163 


Germain, Leon W.: Biographical sketch — port .\u 131 

"Damaged Telephone Cables Send Their Own Alarms" — 6 

photos, 1 graph Au 163 

Gifford, Walter S.: 

"'Hello, England': A One- Way Transatlantic Talk" by 

William P. Banning— 2 photos Wi 248 

"Salute to the Spirit of Service, A" statement on "Tele- 
phone Hour" Dec. 16, 1946 Wi 224 

"Growing Use of Radio in the Bell System, The" by Francis M. 

Ryan — 9 photos, 2 charts, 3 maps Wi 225 


Hanselman, John J.: Biographical sketch — port Wi 190 

"Progress in Extending Bell Rural Telephone Service" — 

4 photos, 3 charts, 1 map Wi 193 

Harrison, William H.: Biographical sketch — port Au 131 


"Service to the Nation in Peace and War" Au 159 

Held Applications: 

"Service to the Nation in Peace and War" by W'illiam H. 

Harrison • Au 1 59 

"'Hello, England': A One- Way Transatlantic Talk" by Wil- 
liam P. Banning— 2 photos Wi 248 

"Hiring a Quarter of a Million Women" by Raymond A. Steel- 
man — 13 photos Au 134 


Illinois Bell Telephone Company: 

"Crisis in River Grove" by Hugh MofTett— 7 photos Wi 238 



Issue Page 
Independent Telephone Companies: 

"Progress in Extending Bell Rural Telephone Service" by 
John J. Hanselman and Harold S. Osborne — 4 photos, 

3 charts, 1 map Wi 193 

Inventions : 

"Bell Laboratories' Role in Victory. II"— 18 photos, 1 

diagram Su 116 

Jones, Philip C: 

"Bell Laboratories' Role in \'ictory. I" — 17 photos Sp 36 

Biographical sketch — port Sp 3 

"Juicy Atom Speech Reported to FCC as Subversive" Wi 247 

Leased Wires: 

"Coast Guard Operates Through Communications, The" by 
Admiral Joseph F. Farley, USCG — 16 photos, 1 map, 

1 chart Wi 203 

LeDuc, Harold S.: Biographical sketch — port Au 187 

"Philadelphia Goes '2-5' "—4 photos Au 176 

Long Lines Department: 

"Command Circuits" by Eldon Nichols — 14 photos Su 101 

"Damaged Telephone Cables Send Their Own Alarms" by 

Leon W. Germain — 6 photos, 1 graph Au 163 

"Growing Use of Radio in the Bell System, The" by Francis 

M. Ryan — 9 photos, 2 charts, 3 maps Wi 225 

Juicy atom speech reported to FCC as subversive Wi 247 

"Three-minute furloughs" by Harold A. White — 20 photos ..Sp 20 


"Coast Guard Operates Thi-ough Communications, The" by 
Admiral Joseph F. Farley, USCG — 16 photos, 1 map, 

1 chart Wi 203 

Loudspeakers see PubUc Address Systems 

Lovette, Frank H.: Biographical Sketch — port Su 74 

"Twenty Years of 'Talking Movies': an Anniversary" — 12 

photos Su 82 

M ' 

McGowan, James R.: Biographical sketch — port Au 187 

"Telephones in the Post-War World"— 3 charts Au 182 

McHugh, Keith S.: "Bell System's Progress in Television Net- 
works, The. 11"— 2 photos Au 152 

Biographical sketch — port Au 130 

"Farewell to WEAF" Au 162 


Bell system coaxial cal)le program, The Au 148 



Issue Page 
Certain communications facilities in continental United 

States employed by the U. S. Coast Guard Wi 216 

General mobile telephone service — Bell System Wi 235 

Land radio telephone stations for serving high-seas, coastal 

and harbor vessels Wi 230 

Radio relay system to transmit television, West Point to 

New York Wi 232 

Relief map of United States with superimposed telephone 

hne Wi 195 

"Memo to a Girl at a Switchboard" by Harold W. Stephens — 

photo Wi 254 

Micro-Waves see Radio Relay System 

Mobile Radio Telephone Service see Radio Telephony 

Moffett, Hugh : Biographical sketch — port Wi 191 


"Crisis in River Grove" — 7 photos Wi 238 

Motion Pictures: * * 
"Bell Laboratories' Role in Victory. 11" — 18 photos, 1 dia- 
gram Su 116 

"Hiring a Quarter of a Million Women" by Raymond S. 

Steelman — 13 photos Au 134 

Motion Pictures — Sound: 

"Twenty Years of 'Talking Movies': an Anniversary" 

Frank H. Lovette and Stanley Watkins — 12 photos ....Su 82 


Nassau Smelting and Refining Company: 

"Nassau — The Bell System's Conservation Specialist" by 

William A. Scheuch— 8 photos Wi 256 

"Nassau — The Bell System's Conservation Specialist" by Wil- 
liam A. Scheuch — 8 photos Wi 256 

National Broadcasting Company: 

"Growing Use of Radio in the Bell System, The" by Francis 

M. Ryan — 9 photos, 2 charts, 3 maps Wi 225 

New England Telephone & Telegraph Company: 

"Growing L^se of Radio in the Bell System, The" by Francis 

M. Ryan — 9 photos, 2 charts, 3 maps Wi 225 

"Progress in Extending Bell Rural Telephone Service" by 
John J. Hanselman and Harold S. Osborne — 4 photos, 

3 charts, 1 map Wi 193 

New York Telephone Company: 

"Growing Use of Radio in the Bell System, The" by Francis 

M. Ryan — 9 photos, 2 charts, 3 maps Wi 225 

Nichols, Eldon: Biographical sketch — port Su 75 

"Command Circuits" — 14 photos Su 101 

"Notes on Mobile Radio Service" by H. I. Phillips Au 186 

"Now We Are All Happy" Su 127 

Number Plan: 

"Philadelphia Goes '2-5'" by Harold S. LeDuc— 4 photos ..Au 176 



Issue Page 


"On the Matter of Reports" by Winston Churchill Su 127 

O & E Department: 

"Crisis in River Grove" by Hugh MofFett— 7 photos Wi 238 


"Memo to a Girl at a Switchboard" by Harold W. 

Stephens — photo Wi 254 

"Opportunity" by Leroy A. Wilson Wi 252 

Osborne, Harold S.— port Wi 190 

"Progress in Extending Bell Rural Telephone Service" — 4 

photos, 3 charts, 1 map Wi 193 


Page, Arthur W. : Excerpt on relations with the public from 

The Bell Telephone System, by Arthur W. Page, p. 29 . . . .Su 128 

"Philadelphia Goes '2-5' " by Harold S. LeDuc— 4 photos Au 176 

Phillips, H. I.: "Notes on Mobile Radio Service" Au 186 

Pierce, Dr. John: Developed traveling wave tube — port Au 157 


"Progress in Extending Bell Rural Telephone Service" by 
John J. Hanselman and Harold S. Osborne — 4 photos, 

3 charts, 1 map Wi 193 

"Progress in Extending Bell Rural Telephone Service" by John 
J. Hanselman and Harold S. Osborne — 4 photos, 3 

charts, 1 map Wi 193 

Public Address Systems: 

"Bell Laboratories' Role in Victory. II. Giant Voices" by 

Philip C. Jones — 4 photos Sp 36 

"Twenty Years of 'Talking Movies': an Anniversary" by 

Frank H. Lovette and Stanley Watkins — 12 photos ....Su 82 

Public Relations: 

Editorial, Main Line Times, Ardmore, Pa., on Bell System 

public relations Au 158 

Excerpt on relations with the public from The Bell Tele- 
phone System, by Arthur W. Page, p. 29 Su 128 

"Finding Out What People Think of Us" by Arthur H. 
Richardson and C. Theodore Smith — 10 photos, 3 dia- 
grams Sp 5 

"Putting Disabled Veterans Back to Work" by Lawrence L. 

Armantrout Su 77 


Radar : 

"Bell Laboratories' Role in Victory. 11" — 2 photos, 1 dia- 
gram Su 116 

"Coast Guard Operates Through Connnunications, The" by 
Admiral Joseph F. Farley, USCG — 16 photos, 1 map, 
1 chart Wi 203 



Issue Page 
"Western Electric Experts with the Armed Forces" by J. 

Stedman Ward — 10 photos Sp 54 

Radio — Broadcasting: 

"Commercial Broadcasting Pioneer: The WEAF Experi- 
ment, 1922-1926" by William P. Banning— photo Wi 267 

"Farewell to WEAF" by Keith S. McHugh Au 162 

Radio Relay System: 

Bell Laboratories develops metal lens to focus micro-waves. .Su 115 
"Bell Laboratories' Role in Victory. H" — 18 photos, 1 dia- 
gram Su 116 

"Bell System's Progress in Television Networks, The" by 
Laurance G. Woodford, Keith S. McHugh and Oliver 

E. Buckley — 4 photos, 1 map Au 147 

"Growing Use of Radio in the Bell System, The" by Francis 

M. Ryan — 9 photos, 2 charts, 3 maps Wi 225 

"Telephone Hour" announcement of metal lens to focus 

micro-waves Su 115 

Radio Stations: 

"Commercial Broadcasting Pioneer: The WEAF Experi- 
ment. 1922-1926" by William P. Banning— photo Wi 267 

Radio Telephony: 

"Coast Guard Operates Through Communications, The" by 
Admiral Joseph F. Farley, L^SCG — 16 photos, 1 map, 

1 chart Wi 203 

"Commercial Broadcasting Pioneer: The WEAF Experi- 
ment, 1922-1926" book review by William P. Ban- 
ning — photo Wi 267 

"Growing L^se of Radio in the Bell System, The" by Francis 

M. Ryan — -9 photos, 2 charts, 3 maps Wi 225 

"'Hello, England": A One-Way Transatlantic Talk" by Wil- » 

Ham P. Banning — 2 photos Wi 248 

"Notes on Mobile Radio Service" by H. L Philips Au 186 

"Progress in Extending Bell Rural Telephone Service" by 
John J. Hanselman and Harold S. Osborne — 4 photos, 

3 charts, 1 map Wi 193 

Radio — Transoceanic : 

"Three-minute Furloughs" by Harold A. White — 20 photos ..Sp 4 


"Service to the Nation in Peace and War" by William H. 

Harrison •. Au 159 

Recording Devices: 

"Philadelphia Goes '2-5'" by Harold S. LeDuc — 4 photos ..Au 176 

Richardson, Arthur H.: Biographical sketch — group port Sp 2 

"Finding Out What People Think of Us"— 10 photos, 3 

diagrams Sp 5 


"Bell Laboratories' Role in \'ictory. I." III. "The 

Rockets' Red Glare" by Philip C. Jones — 6 photos Sp 36 




Issue Page 

Rural Telephone Service: 

"Growing Use of Radio in the Bell System, The" by Francis 

M. Ryan— 9 photos, 2 charts, 3 maps Wi 225 

"Now We Are All Happy ..." Su 127 

"Progress in Extending Bell Rural Telephone Service" by 
John J. Hansehnan and Harold S. Osborne — 4 photos, 

3 charts, 1 map Wi 193 

Radio Telephony: 

"Coast Guard Operates Through Communications, The" by 
Admiral Joseph F. Farley, USCG — 16 photos, 1 map, 

1 chart Wi 203 

"Commercial Broadcasting Pioneer: The WEAF Experi- 
ment, 1922-1926" book review by William P. Banning 

—photo Wi 267 

"Growing Use of Radio in the Bell System, The" by Francis 

M. Ryan— 9 photos, 2 charts, 3 maps Wi 225 

"'Hello, England': A One-Way Transatlantic Talk" by 

William P. Banning— 2 photos Wi 248 

"Notes on Mobile Radio Service" by H. I. Philips Au 186 

-"Progress in Extending Bell Rural Telephone Service" by 
John J. Hanselman and Harold S. Osborne — 4 photos, 

3 charts, 1 map Wi 193 


"Service to the Nation in Peace and War" by William H. 

Harrison A.u 159 

Recording Devices: 

"Philadelphia Goes '2-5'" by Harold S. LeDuc— 4 photos ..Au 176 

Richardson, Arthur H.: Biographical sketch — group port Sp 2 

"Finding Out What People Think of Us"— 10 photos, 3 

* diagrams Sp 5 


"Bell Laboratories' Role in Victory. I." III. "The 

Rockets' Red Glare" bv Philip C. Jones — 6 photos Sp 36 

Rural Telephone Service: 

"Growing Use of Radio in the Bell System, The" by Francis 

M. Ryan — 9 photos, 2 charts, 3 maps Wi 225 

"Now We Are All Happy ..." Su 127 

"Progress in Extending Bell Rural Telephone Service" by 
John J. Hanselman and Harold S. Osborne — 4 photos, 

3 charts, 1 map Wi 193 

Ryan, Francis M.: Biographical sketch — port Wi 191 

"Growing Use of Radio in the Bell System, The" — 9 photos, 

2 charts, 3 maps Wi 225 


"Salute to the Spirit of Service, A" statement by Walter S. 

Giflford on "Telephone Hour" Dec. 16, 1946 Wi 224 

Scheuch, William A.: Biographical sketch — port Wi 191 



Issue Page 
"Nassau — The Bell System's Conservation Specialist" — 

8 photos Wi 256 

"Service to the Nation in Peace and War" by William H. 

Harrison Au 159 

Ship Telephone Service: 

"Coast Guard Operates Through Comniunications, The" by 
Admiral Joseph F. Farley, USCG — 16 pliotos, 1 map. 

1 chart Wi 203 

"Growing Use of Radio in the Bell System, The" by Francis 

M. Ryan — 9 photos, 2 charts, 3 maps Wi 225 

Smith, C. Theodore: Biographical sketch — group port Sp 2 

"Finding Out What People Think of Us"— 10 photos, 3 

diagrams Sp 5 

Soldiers' Phone Calls: 

"Three-minute Furloughs" by Harold A. White — 20 photos . .Sp 4 

Sonar see Radar 
Southwestern Bell Telephone Company: 

"Progress in Extending Bell Rural Telephone Service" by 
John J. Hanselman and Harold S. Osborne — 4 photos, 

3 charts, 1 map Wi 193 

Steelman, Raymond A.: Biographical sketch — port Au 130 

"Hiring a Quarter of a Million Women" — 13 photos Au 134 

Stephens, Harold W.: "Memo to a Girl at a Switchboard" — 

photo Wi 254 

Stoll, C. G.: 

President of Western Electric receives congratulations from 
General Arnold and General Echols for work of West- 
ern Electric men in armed forces Sp 62 


"Finding Out What People Think of Us" by Arthur H. 
Richardson and C. Theodore Smith — 10 photos, 3 dia- 
grams Sp 5 



"Coast Guard Operates Through Communications, The" by 

Admiral Joseph F. Farley, USCG — 16 photos, 1 map, 

1 chart Wi 203 

Telephone Hour: 

Announcement of metal lens to focus micro-waves made on 

"Telephone Hour" Su 115 

"Salute to the Spirit of Service, A" by W. S. Gififord, 

Dec. 16, 1946 Wi 224 

Tribute to Bell System men and women in Armed Forces — 

"Telephone Hour" Nov. 11, 1946 Au 188 



Issue Page 
Telephone Service: 

"Coast Guard Operates Through Communications, The" by- 
Admiral Joseph F. Farlej'-, USCG — 16 photos, 1 map, 

1 chart Wi 203 

"Philadelphia Goes '2-5'" by Harold S. LeDuc— 4 photos ..Au 176 

"Progress in Extending Bell Rural Telephone Service" by 
John J. Hanselman and Harold S. Osborne — 4 photos, 

3 charts, 1 map Wi 193 

"Salute to the Spirit of Service, A" statement by Walter 

S. Gifford on "Telephone Hour" Dec. 16, 1946 Wi 224 


"Bell Laboratories' Role in Victory. I." I. "Telephones 

at War" by Philip C. Jones — 7 photos Sp 36 

"Progress in Extending Bell Rural Telephone Service" by 
John J. Hanselman and Harold S. Osborne — 4 photos, 

3 charts, 1 map Wi 193 

"Western Electric Experts with the Armed Forces" by J. 

Stedman Ward — 10 photos Sp 54 

Telephones — History: 

"Coast Guard Operates Through Communications, The" by 

Joseph F. Farley, USCG — 16 photos, 1 map, 1 chart . . . . Wi 203 

"Growing Use of Radio in the Bell System, The" by Francis 

M. Ryan — 9 photos, 2 charts, 3 maps Wi 225 

"'Hello, England': A One-Way Transatlantic Talk" by 

William P. Banning— 2 photos Wi 248 

Telephones — Statistics : 

"Service to the Nation in Peace and War" by William H. 

Harrison Au 159 

"Telephones in the Post-War World" by James R. Mc- 

Gowan — 3 charts Au 182 

"Telephones in the Post-War World" by James R. McGowan 

—3 charts Au 182 

Teletypewriters : 

"Coast Guard Operates Through Communication, The" by 
Admiral Joseph F. Farley, USCG — 16 photos, 1 map, 

1 chart Wi 203 

"Command Circuits" by Eldon Nichols — 14 photos Su 101 


"Bell System's Progress in Television Networks, The" by 
Laurance G. Woodford, Keith S. McHugh and Oliver 

E. Buckley — 5 photos, 1 map Au 147 

"Growing Use of Radio in the Bell System. The" by Francis 

M. Ryan— 9 photos, 2 charts, 3 maps Wi 225 

Thayer, H. B.: 

'"Hello, England': A One-Way Transatlantic Talk" by 

William P. Banning — 2 photos Wi 248 

"Three-minute Furloughs" by Harold A. White — 20 photos Sp 4 




Issue Page 
Training : 

"Damaged Telephone Cables Send Their Own Alarms" by 

Leon W. Germain — 6 photos, 1 graph , Au 163 

"Hiring a Quarter of a Million Women" by Raymond S. 

Steelman— 13 photos Au 134 

"Twenty Years of 'Talking Movies': An Anniversary" by Frank 

H. Lovette and Stanley Watkins — 12 photos Su 82 


U. S. Coast Guard: 

"Coast Guard Operates Through Communications, The" by 
Admiral Joseph F. Farlev, USCG — 16 photos, 1 map, 
1 chart Wi 203 

Vacuum Tubes: 

"Bell Laboratories' Role in Victory. IT" — 18 photos, 1 dia- 
gram Su 116 

"Bell System's Progress in Television Networks, The" by 

Oliver E. Buckle> — 1 photo Au 154 

"Twenty Years of 'Talking Movies': An Anniversary" by 

Frank H. Lovette and Stanley Watkins — 12 photos ....Su 82 

Veterans — World War II: 

"Putting Disabled X'cterans Back to Work" by Lawrence 

L. Armantrout Su 77 


Ward, J. Stedman: Biographical sketcli — group port Sp 3 

"Western Electric Experts with the Armed Forces" — 10 

photos Sp 54 

Watkins, Stanley: Biographical sketch — port Su 75 

"Twenty Years of 'Talking Movies': an Anniversary" — 12 

photos Su 82 

Watson, Thomas A.: Excerpt from Exploriiii/ Life on his work 

at Williams' shop Au 181 

Western Electric Company: 

"Bell Laboratories' Role in Victory. I" by Philip C. Jones 

— 17 photos Sp 36 

"Bell Laboratories' Role in \'ictory. 11" — 18 photos, 1 dia- 
gram Su 116 

"Crisis in River Grove" In- Hugh Moffett — 7 photos, 1 dia- 
gram Wi 238 

"Nassau — The Bell System's Conversation Specialist" by 

William A. Scheuch— 8 photos Wi 256 

"Service to the Nation in Peace and War" by William H. 

Harrison Au 159 

"Twenty Years of 'Talking Movies': an Anniversary" l)y 

Frank H. Lovette and Stanley Watkins — 12 photos Su 82 



Issue Page 
"Western Electric Experts with the Armed Forces" by J. Sted- 

man Ward — 10 photos Sp 54 

White, Harold: Biographical sketch — port Sp 2 

"Three-minute Furloughs" — 20 photos Sp 20 


Wilson, Leroy A. : "Opportunity" Wi_ 252 


"Nassau — The Bell System's Conservation Specialist" by 

William A. Scheuch— 8 photos Wi 256 

"Progress in Extending Bell Rural Telephone Service" by 
John J. Hanselman and Harold S. Osborne — 4 photos, 

3 charts, 1 map Wi 193 


"Hiring a Quarter of a Million Women" by Raymond S. 

Steelman — 13 photos Au 134 

Woodford, Laurance G. : "Bell System's Progress in Television 

Networks, The— I"— 1 photo, 1 map Au 147 

Biographical sketch — port Au 130 

World War II: 

"Bell Laboratories' Role in Victory. I" by Philip C. Jones 

— 1 7 photos Sp 36 

"Bell Laboratories' Role in Victory. H" — 18 photos, 1 dia- 
gram Su 116 

"Command Circuits" by Eldon Nichols — 14 photos Su 101 

Juicy atom speech reported to FCC as subversive Wi 247 

"Service to the Nation in Peace and War" by William H. 

Harrison Au 159 

"Western Electric Experts with the Armed Forces" by J. 

Stedman Ward — 10 photos Sp 54 


me ^jvv ^^i^umoer une 

spring iQ/fO 



Finding Out What People Think of Us • Arthur H. Richardson 

and C. Theodore Sroth 

Three-Minute Furloughs • Harold A. "White 

Bell Laboratories^ R6le in Victory • Philip C. Jones 

Western Electric Experts with the Armed Forces • J. Stedman Ward 

Bell Tdd^on^4am2k^ 

spring 194.6 

Finding Out What People Think of Us, Arthur H. Richardson 

and C. Theodore Smith, 5 

Three-Minute Furloughs, Harold A. JVhite, 20 

Bell Laboratories' Role in Victory, Philip C. Jones, 2,1 

Western Electric Experts with the Armed Forces, /. Stedman TFard, 54 

" The ideal and aim oj the Aynerican Telephone and Telegraph Company and its Associated 
Companies is a telephone service for the nation, free^ humanly possible, from 
imperfections, errors, or delays, and enabling anyone anywhere to pick up a telephone 
and talk to anyone else anywhere else, clearly, quickly and at a reasonable cost." 

A Medium of Suggestion ^ a Record of Progress 

Published for the supervisory forces of the Bell System by the Information Department of 
American Telephone and Telegraph Co., /pj Broadway, New York 7, A^. Y. 
Walter S. Gifford, Pres.; Carroll O. Bickelhaupt, Sec; Donald R. Belcher, Treas. 

Who's Who & What's What 

in This Issue 

Gallup polls, Fortune surveys, and simi- 
lar phenomena of the current American 
scene were not so commonplace back in 
1929, when A. T. & T, Vice President 
Arthur W. Page asked Seymour L. An- 
drew, then Chief Statistician and now re- 
tired, to undertake the study of public 
opinion survey methods and their applica- 
bility to the telephone business. As a re- 
sult of that request, Arthur H. Richard- 
son and C. Theodore Smith were as- 
signed to carry on the development of the 
work in this field. They have been at it 
ever since: asking questions and analyzing 
the answers, broadening the field and devel- 
oping and refining methods, increasing the 
accuracy and the significance of the facts 
they uncover — and helping the Associated 
Companies of the Bell System to do more 
and more of the same. The article begin- 
ning on page 5 is the first general descrip- 
tion of this System activity to be published. 
Mr. Richardson started in the Statistical 
Division in 19 19, and for a decade devoted 

Fact-uncoverers: Arthur H. Richard- 
son (right) and C. Theodore Smith 

Back from a "rather active assign- 
ment": Long-Liner Harold White 

himself to methods of statistical analysis 
and presentation and was active in the or- 
ganization and development of statistical 
work in the Associated Companies. As 
General Research Statistician, his activities, 
in addition to public opinion research, cover 
the field of opinion surveys as applied to 
employee relations and to the telephone 
market. Mr. Smith, who has worked 
closely with Mr. Richardson since he joined 
the Statistical Division in 1929, contributed 
"Exhibiting Telephone Progress at the 
World's Fair" to the Bell Telephone 
Quarterly for January 1934. 

No extensive research is necessary to 
find out what members of the Armed Forces 
who were — or are — overseas think of the 
provision of telephone service which enables 
them to talk with family or friends even 
from the other side of the world. It is the 
final follow-through of the service which 
the Bell System has strained to make avail- 
able at camps, hospitals, debarkation centers 
— wherever Service men and women have 

Bell Telephone Magazine 

I Science Editor, editing: Philip C. Jones 

I needed it. And the literally hundreds of 
thousands of calls which have been placed 
to this country from the European and Pa- 

, cific Theaters are all the evidence needed 
about GI public opinion of the service. 

Overseas telephony is provided by A. T. 
& T.'s Long Lines Department, which 

, Harold A. White joined as a technical 
student in 1928. Various assignments pre- 
ceded his appointment in 1939 as district 
plant superintendent at Washington, D. C. 
"Due to the war," he notes, "this was a 
rather active assignment" — which might be 
taken as an understatement. The war over, 
he was brought back to Long Lines head- 
quarters at New York, where for a year he 
has been staff supervisor of overseas services. 

Of Bell Laboratories' diverse and effec- 
tive assistance to the Armed Forces of this 
nation and its allies in World War II, 
about half was devoted to the development 
of radar. But its resources and personnel 
were called on for help in other fields also, 
and some of its other contributions were not 
only invaluable but unique. A few of them 
Philip C. Jones describes in the article 
beginning on page 37. Mr. Jones is Sci- 
ence Editor of Bell Laboratories Record, 
and has thus been able to draw freely upon 
material which he had written or edited for 
that publication. Before joining the tech- 

nical staff of the Laboratories in 1927, he 
had had 15 years' engineering experience in 
this country and in South America. 

Members of the Armed Forces responsible 
for the maintenance and operation of radar 
and other electronic devices, in all branches 
of the Service and in all parts of the world, 
found Western Electric's Field Engineer- 
ing Force a supporting host in time of need. 
J. Stedman Ward tells some of the facts 
and some of the happenings which made it 
so; and he knows about such things. For 
it was he who formed the F. E. F. and 
guided its destiny for five years. 

Mr. Ward was employed by Western 
Electric in its Engineering Department 
(later to become Bell Laboratories) in 
19 19. His early experiences included work 
with ship-to-shore radio telephone service 
and with Western Electric radio broadcast- 
ing equipment. When "talking movies" 
became a reality, he helped to introduce the 
Western Electric system of sound motion 
picture equipment; and he became director 
of operations for Electrical Research Prod- 
ucts Incorporated in charge of its field in- 
stallations and service organization. Now, 
with the F. E. F. on a peacetime scale, he 
becomes coordinator of personnel and train- 
ing in Western's Installation Department. 

Welcome to Hawaii: J. Stedman Ward 

(right) being greeted in 1944 by Navy 

Captain A. L. Becker, then Electronics 

Officer at Pearl Harbor 

A FAMILIAR EMBLEM in at! unfamiliar setting. Note the words "Frankfurt, Ger- 
many," at the bottom of the sign. At the request of the Army, the Bell System re- 
established and operates the overseas telephone circuits between the United States 
and the U. S. occupation zone in Germany — the only area abroad from which it 
operates. See "Three-Minute Furloughs," page 20 

Carefully Conducted Attitude Surveys^ Using Scientific 

Methods^ Reveal Useful Facts about Customers' Opinions 

of Telephone Service and the Telephone Company 

Finding Out What People 

Think of Us 

Arthur H. Richardson and 
C. Theodore Smith 

The Bell System now handles about 
thirty billion telephone calls a year. 
It sends out millions of bills; its in- 
stallers and repairmen make millions 
of visits to customers' premises; and 
there are innumerable other contacts 
between the public and the System's 
operating companies. Add them all 
up, and you will have some idea of 
the number of occasions which the 
public has for forming impressions of 
telephone service and of the com- 
panies which furnish it. 

For many years the Bell System 
has been using various ways of find- 
ing out what those impressions are. 
The continuous service-measurement 
plans of the departments, and the 
many contacts which employees have 
with users of the service, give a fairly 
good indication of how successful each 
Associated Company is in giving 
people the kind of service they want. 

And voluntary comments of custom- 
ers, in person, over the telephone, by 
letter, supplement this information. 

But there are many millions of 
telephone users whom the company 
seldom or never sees or hears from; 
and the great majority of people do 
not indicate what they think unless 
they are asked. To get the views of • 
both the articulate and the inarticu- 
late, and to cover subjects on which 
they are not likely to volunteer an 
expression of opinion, the System is 
making increasing use of opinion sur- 
veys. In these studies it finds out 
what people are thinking by going 
directly to them with questions; and 
by carefully selecting a relatively 
small sample of customers for ques- 
tioning, a reliable indication can be 
obtained of the opinions held by the 
whole group under study. 

The first organized customer opin- 

Bell Telephone Magazine 


ion survey in the Bell System was 
made in Detroit toward the end of 
1925. It was conducted by J. D. 
Houser and Associates, one of the 
pioneer firms engaged in measuring 
attitudes. Many of the methods em- 
ployed, which have since had wide- 
spread use in other Bell System stud- 
ies, were developed by Dr. Raymond 
Franzen, who was then a member of 
the Houser organization and with 
whom the A. T. & T. Co. has since 
maintained a consulting arrangement. 

In 1929, subsequent to a Houser 
survey of the effectiveness of Ameri- 
can Telephone and Telegraph Com- 
pany advertising, made in Pittsburgh, 
a unit was set up in the Chief Statis- 
tician's Division of A. T. & T. to de- 
termine possible applications of opin- 
ion survey techniques to problems in 
the Bell System. Since that time this 
unit has been engaged in developing 
methods and in assisting the Asso- 
ciated Companies to conduct surveys, 
and has prepared numerous reports 
based on the findings of studies made 
in conjunction with the companies. 

During the twenty years that opin- 
ion surveys have been made in the 
Bell System, the views of more than 
, five hundred thousand people (repre- 
sentative of many millions) have been 
obtained on many different subjects 
in hundreds of studies carried out in 
many different cities, towns, and rural 
communities over the country. For 
the most part, these studies have been 
conducted by the telephone companies 
themselves, as early experience indi- 
cated that it was possible for com- 
pany representatives to obtain from 
the public full and frank expressions 
of opinion regarding telephone serv- 
ice and other phases of the business. 

The opinion surveys have varied 

widely in scope and purpose; but all 
have aimed to contribute facts about 
customer opinions needed to arrive at 
sound solutions of problems in which 
attitudes of our customers or of the 
public generally were involved. For 
example, surveys have been useful : 

In finding out which specific aspects 
of telephone service the user 
feels most need improvement. 

In measuring customer satisfaction 
with service in small offices 
where service measurements are 
not normally made. 

In determining telephone service 
requirements of people living in 
rural areas. 

In determining marketing habits 
of housewives, as a basis for 
promoting use of the telephone 
for shopping. 

In determining the needs, attitudes, 
and expectations of applicants 
who are waiting for telephone 

In deciding what improvements in 
pay station facilities are most 
desired by users. 

In considering possible revisions of 
telephone exchange boundaries. 

In revising the form of telephone 
bills to increase their clarity. 

In determining how telephone di- 
rectories may be improved to 
facilitate reference and to in- I 
crease use. \ 

In determining the most elective 
placement of advertising in daily 

In determining the size of audience 
of telephone company radio pro- 

In determining the effectiveness of 
various campaigns to promote 
toll usage. 

Finding Out What People Think of Us 


It was recognized from the start 
of the activity that the study of opin- 
ions and attitudes was not a simple 
undertaking. In dealing with in- 
tangibles of this character, it was ap- 
parent that a good deal of experi- 
menting with methods would have to 
be done if sound conclusions were 
to be reached. The measurement of 
public attitude was a new field, and at 
the outset little guidance could be ob- 

At the beginning of the survey ac- 
tivity it was feared that there might 
be some unfavorable reaction on the 
part of our customers and the public 
generally. However, the general ex- 
perience has been that the public does 
not object to being questioned, but, 
on the contrary, is very willing to 
answer questions about telephone 
service and the telephone company. 
Apparently, people appreciate the in- 

CoNDUCTiNG a customer opinion survey by means of telephone interviews 

tained from outside sources. So the 
early studies made In the Bell System 
were looked on as primarily experi- 
mental, and procedures were thor- 
oughly tested to determine those 
which seemed to give the most reli- 
able results. In this experimental 
work the Associated Companies co- 
operated, and they have contributed 
materially to the development of 
methods and procedures. 

terest shown by the company In so- 
liciting their views, and it Is now 
generally recognized that the survey 
activity has a definite customer rela- 
tions value. 

It is important, of course, that the 
procedures followed in obtaining the 
necessary information from people 
should not annoy or irritate them; 
for, In addition to the effect on cus- 
tomer relations, this could lead to 


Bell Telephone Magazine 


inaccuracies in survey results. To 
avoid any possibility of such reaction, 
special care should be exercised in 
planning and conducting each study. 

How Surveys Are Made 

In setting up an opinion survey, the 
first essential, as in the case of most 

will vary from study to study, but 
there are certain fundamental pro- 
cedures common to most opinion sur- 
veys. These include : 

Developing the Questionnaire 
Selecting the Sample 
Getting the Information 
Analyzing the Results 

.^ Poo. Two iKJttai Ji yo4i\ 0fU*UOH.? 

It/Aai Oi. y<ut>i 0f24*fiOM? 

Page Tfiree 

4. b there anything obout your servke (hot 

ret D 

\ 0. Do you feel the Compony is doing 

oil it CbvM do more G 

k in ony way unsalisf ad ory ? 


can to give good service, or could it do Doing o// H con □ 

{If Yes) What is unsatisfactory?. .. ._ 

1 1 . About how nwBiy focol telephone 


In n 



5. In general, would you say the telephone 

Poor n 

are made from your telephone 

service yoo are getting is poor, fair, good 


week? {Your bea guess) nrnnber 

or excellent? 


Excetteitf □ 

12. About how often are ouf-of-fown 

calls made from your telephone — 

Don't mdce colft □ 

6. Do you feel your telephone service is better. 


soy to places more than 25 miles 

Lest than once a moi^ □ 

Of worse, than it was a year ago? 

Nodrfferwtf □ 

oway ? ( Your best guest) 

About once a mofftfi □ 

Better n 

More IfcoB once a month □ 

No cervice year ago Q 

13. Do you regard your telephone as: 

An cAsohrie netessky Q] 

7. Can you recoil any occasion when you 


A necest^ □ 
Mamly o convenience Q 

were particularly annoyed by something 


the telephone people did or foiled to do? 

(If Yes) What was It? 

14. Do you feel that you get 
your money's worth out of 
your telephone ? 

Sometimes feel 1 do not \ I 
Usually feel 1 do O 
Always feell do \J 

8. Can you recall any occasion when you 


were particularly pleosed by something 


ttie telephone people did for you? 

1 5. At any time during the past year have you felt you 

(If Vm) Whol wa. it? 

wanted to change toi 

A higher class of nrvtce □ 

A lower doss of service |~| 
Have Bo» wanted (o change □ 

9. In generol, how would you describe the Not very helpful Q 

attitude of people at the Telephone Com- 


16. At any time during the past year 

have Yes □ 


Very helpful Q 

you considered doing without your 

tele- No n 

Noopinton □ 


What is a telephone company questionnaire like? Here are two pages from one 
which was used in a nation-wide survey of customer opinion 

other scientific inquiries, is a clear-cut 
definition of objectives: specifically, 
what the problem is, what informa- 
tion is needed in connection with the 
problem, and along what lines the in- 
quiry should be directed to obtain re- 
sults which will have practical ap- 
plication. The actual steps followed 

Developing the Questionnaire 

Most Bell System attitude surveys 
are conducted on a questionnaire 
basis, in which each individual in the 
sample is asked a prepared list of 
questions. This assures that all per- 
tinent aspects of a subject will be 



Finding Out What People Think of Us 

covered with each person. More- 
over, definite response categories are 
provided for most questions, which 
makes possible the statistical analysis 
of results. This does not prevent 
free expression of opinion, however, 
and space is always provided on ques- 
tionnaires for customer comments. 

There are, of course, certain general 
principles which should be observed, 
such as avoidance of words which 
may mean different things to different 
people, and of leading questions and 
of questions which might cause peo- 
ple to "cover up." 

It Is customary on a new project to 



less tkan^i'tnilel — I 
, )4foyz miUO 

Overl mileD 

4-iER.C TO 



Ahoui ^cstls per tnonth 

(Write in TUimber) 


iP>ease vrrite in) 

Vorit nuKe calls I i 

CAN PcoPiE err in touch mith yov ev TtitPMOWE 



(If yes) 


'■=>^°° THE TELEPHOME ? 

Atwuf iinie* per m^nth 

(Write In number) 

Von^ pit 


A NOT-TOO-SERIOUS ATMOSPHERE helps to Create interest In answering questions: 
facing pages from a questionnaire to rural non-subscribers 

I The preparation of the questlon- 
I naire Is one of the most exacting 
phases of the whole survey activity. 
There are few definite rules which 
can be laid down In framing the ques- 
tions — for this depends on judgment, 
and on experience as to what has 
proved productive and what has not. 

conduct a small-scale "pilot" study 
before proceeding with the survey 
proper. This provides an oppor- 
tunity to experiment with introduc- 
tions, question wordings, order of 
questions, and any special or unusual 
procedures which it may be desirable 
to try out. 


Bell Telephone Magazine 


Selecting the Sample 

Almost all opinion studies are con- 
ducted on a sampling basis; that is, 
a cross-section is selected in such a 
way as to represent in miniature the 
total group of people whose views 
are desired. But to secure an accu- 
rate cross-section picture, the proce- 
dure used in selecting the individuals 
who are to comprise the sample is of 
first importance. 

Methods of sample selection vary, 
depending on such factors as the 
characteristics of the group to be 
studied and on the availability of in- 
formation regarding this group. In 
telephone company surveys of sub- 
scribers, sampling is greatly simplified 
because the names and addresses of 
all of our customers are listed in tele- 
phone directories and elsewhere in 
company records. These lists pro- 
vide an excellent basis for sampling, 
since they make it possible to use a 
"random" method of selection. 

To illustrate one of the simpler ap- 
plications of this procedure: suppose 
it were desired to conduct a survey 
by telephone in which some 500 resi- 
dence customers were to be chosen as 
a sample of all residence subscribers 
in some particular city or town. The 
telephone directory for the commu- 
nity would be divided into 500 equal 
sections. Interviewers might be in- 
structed to obtain an interview with 
the first available residence subscriber 
in each of the 500 sections. 

If the study were to be made on 
the basis of visits to the premises, a 
smaller number of so-called "inter- 
viewing spots" might be selected at 

At the left are the covers of some 
questionnaires used in attitude surveys 



Finding Out What People Think of Us 


random and a group of interviews 
obtained in each, thus reducing the 
amount of travel involved. 

While the random method of sam- 
ple selection might appear haphazard 
and unorganized, actually it follows 
certain fundamental mathematical 
laws. The reliability of this method 
in telephone company surveys is evi- 
dent when comparisons are made of 
the known characteristics of the whole 
group with similar distributions for 
the sample. 

As to the size of the sample neces- 
sary for a given study, a number of 
factors are controlling. All samples 
are subject to a certain amount of 
"error"; that is, results will differ 
somewhat from those that would 
have been obtained had the total 
group been covered. Assuming that 
the sample has been properly selected, 
the extent of the error depends on the 
size of the sample: the greater the 
accuracy desired, the larger the sam- 
ple must be. Also, of course, the 
greater the number of sub-group com- 
parisons to be made, the larger the 
sample must be. 

It is surprising to many that the 
actual size of the total group from 
which a cross-section is to be taken 
has relatively little to do with the 
number of interviews required. Of 
more importance is the degree of 
homogeneity in the group being stud- 
ied. Where there is little uniformity 
of opinion in the group, more inter- 
views are necessary to achieve a 

At the right are shown steps in tab- 
ulating attitude survey results. Top 
to bottom: "editing" and "coding" 
questionnaires; punching responses to 
questions on tabulating cards; sorting 
punched cards and counting responses 


Bell Telephone Magazine 


given degree of accuracy than where 
people's opinions tend to be similar. 

Getting the Information 

There are various ways of obtain- 
ing attitude information from the 
public. Each has its advantages and 
disadvantages, and the procedure 
used for any specific survey would be 
the one which would provide the 
most reliable and useful results in 
connection with the problem at hand. 

Face-to-Face Interviews have been 
used in conducting many Bell System 
surveys. While this method is rela- 
tively time-consuming, it has particu- 
lar advantages where a new problem 
is being explored, where many ques- 
tions are to be asked, where the ques- 
tions are on subjects unfamiliar to the 
customer, or where it is necessary 
that the questions be answered in defi- 
nite order. 

Face-to-face interviews must be 
made, of course, where observation 
of the premises is necessary to get 
data on economic status or to observe 
telephone facilities; or where, as a 
part of an interview, it is desired to 
show advertisements or check lists, 
or to ask the customer to perform 
some operation such as to look up 
telephone numbers or to dial a call. 

One of the more difficult aspects 
of the face-to-face interview is the 
proper recording of answers and com- 
ments without interfering with the 
conduct of the interview. No at- 
tempt is made to conceal the question- 
naire form, and responses and com- 
ments are recorded as the interview 
proceeds. Experience has been that 
people not only do not mind having 
their answers written down but, as a 
matter of fact, seem to feel that it is 

the logical thing for the interviewer 
to do. 

Telephone Interviews have been 
used extensively, particularly for 
studies of attitude toward telephone 
service. Customers seem to feel it 
is appropriate for the company to use 
the telephone in interviewing them 
about their service. Telephone in- 
terviews are less time-consuming and 
less expensive than premise inter- 
views, and can be supervised much 
more closely. While the telephone 
interview has many of the advantages 
of the premise interview, it must be 
relatively short and the questions 
must be of a type which people can 
answer readily. 

In surveys involving either face-to- 
face or telephone interviewing, proper 
handling of the interview is of crucial 
importance and requires training, 
skill, and experience. In the intro- 
duction to the interview, the purpose 
of the survey is explained to the per- 
son, and the company's interest in 
getting a frank expression of opinion 
is emphasized. Every precaution is 
taken to insure that answers will 
not be influenced in any way; nat- 
urally, interviewers refrain from ex- 
pressing their own opinions, and 
questions raised by the person being 
interviewed are usually deferred for 
answer until the end of the interview. 

In contrast to interviews where 
questionnaires are filled out by an in- 
terviewer, there are other procedures 
whereby customers fill out the ques- 
tionnaires themselves. For example, 
questionnaires have been left at pay 
stations, and have been given out at 
business offices, at telephone com- 
pany "open houses," at telephone ex- 
hibits and demonstrations. How- 


Finding Out What People Think of Us 


ever, in most Bell System studies 
where the customer fills out the ques- 
tionnaire, the practice is either to 
send it to him through the mails or 
to employ the "leave-and-pick-up" 

Mailed Questionnaires have been 
used to advantage especially in con- 
nection with subjects which have pre- 
viously been explored rather thor- 
oughly in personal interviews. Stud- 
ies conducted on this basis can be 
administered from a central point, 

directed toward getting a high re- 
turn. If the subject is of interest, if 
the questions are not too difficult, and 
if the approach and follow-up are well 
planned, a satisfactory return of com- 
pleted questionnaires can usually be 

The "Leave-and-Pick-Up" Method 
is a relatively new development in 
System studies. In this procedure a 
questionnaire is left with the customer 
to fill out; and later on, the same day 
or the next morning, it is picked up. 

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The holes on this card record airthejnformation given on one questionnaire 

and are particularly advantageous 
where people from whom informa- 
tion is wanted are widely scattered 
or where "family" expressions of 
opinion are desired. 

In using the mailed questionnaire 
method, the possibility must always 
be reckoned with that people who fill 
in and return questionnaires may 
differ from those who do not. Ac- 
cordingly, in order to minimize any 
effect which such differences may have 
on the results, special effort is always 

The method was first tried out in a 
survey in Rochester, Minnesota, early 
in 1943. 

This method, as compared with 
face-to-face or telephone interviews, 
materially speeds up the field work, 
because the interviewer does not have 
to wait while the questions are being 
answered. Since the individual reads 
the questions himself and records his 
own responses, any influence which 
interviewers might have on results is 
largely eliminated. Moreover, it is 


Bell Telephone Magazine 








■ "FAIR" 



















' exposed ' to 










- $4.50 





How SURVEYS were used to determine the effectiveness of two specific public rela- 
tions activities. Left, people's opinion of the quality of their telephone service 
improved after a visit to a central office. Right, the toll bills of people "exposed" 
to advertising increased more than did the bills of people who had not seen the 


possible to conduct the surveys with a 
less skilled field force than where in- 
terviews are involved. 

Little diflSculty is experienced in 
getting people to fill in the question- 
naires; and most of those who agree 
to fill them in, do so. The fact that 
the questionnaire is delivered by a 
representative of the company pre- 
serves some of the values of personal 
contact of the face-to-face interview. 
The customer can fill out the ques- 
tionnaire at his convenience; and since 
it is left outside when completed, the 
person is called to the door but once. 
Help of other members of the family 
in filling out the questionnaire can be 
secured if necessary. 

Analyzing Results 

In summarizing the results of a sur- 
vey, machine tabulating methods are 
almost always used. This usually in- 
volves "coding" the questionnaires: 
that is, translating the responses to 
the questions into numerical codes. 
When coded, the questionnaires are 
given to a punch card operator who 
perforates tabulating cards according 
to the codes shown. A separate card 
is prepared for each questionnaire 
and the cards are then run through 
sorting or tabulating machines which 
provide a record of the responses to 
each question. 

These responses, expressed in per- 
centage form, are generally significant 


Finding Out What People Think of Us 


in themselves. They gain added 
meaning, however, when comparisons 
can be made, for example, between 
different groups — such as dial and 
manual customers, individual and 
party line customers, and so on. Or 
the results in some specific locality may 
be compared with other places, with 
"company" figures, or with "Bell 
System" totals. Particularly enlight- 
ening are trend comparisons, where 
results are compared with those of 
previous studies made in the same 

Another method of analyzing re- 
sults is by studying the way in which 
answers to various questions are in- 
terrelated. To illustrate: in recent 
surveys in rural areas each customer 
interviewed was asked whether he 
would be interested in "semi-se- 
lective" ringing — an arrangement 
whereby each customer hears the 
rings of only one other party on the 
line. Elsewhere in the questionnaire 
he was asked whether he objected to 
others "listening in" on the line. By 
relating the answers to these two 
questions, it was found that people 
who objected to listening in were 
much more interested in the new ring- 
ing arrangement than those who did 
not. This provided a pretty clear 
indication that one reason for interest 
in this type of ringing was a feeling 
that less listening in would result. 

Through this "indirect method" of 
analysis, it is often possible to obtain 
indications of the reasons which lie 
behind things people think or do. 
This is particularly important where 
reasons are of the type which people 
might tend to cover up if questioned 
about directly; or where motives are 




;= 3 



3 4 5 6 7 8 

9 ion 

The more people know about the busi- 
ness, the more favorable is their attitude 
toward it 

involved which individuals may not 
be too well aware of themselves. 

In addition to determining specific 
relationships, it is also frequently de- 
sired to investigate relationships of a 
more general character — and in these 
cases "scoring" procedures are usu- 
ally employed. 

In one survey, for example, it was 
desired to find out the extent to which 
people's knowledge of the business 
seemed to affect their attitude toward 
it. In this study, the extent of the in- • 
dividual's knowledge of the telephone 
business was determined by using a 
series, or "battery," of questions; and 
on the basis of responses to these 
questions, each individual was as- 
signed a "knowledge" score. Gen- 
eral attitude toward the company 
was measured by another battery of 


Bell Telephone Magazine 


Telling employees about opinion surveys and the results obtained is an 
important part of attitude survey work. Here are some articles published in 

Associated Company employee magazines 


Finding Out What People Think of Us 


questions, and each Individual re- 
ceived an "attitude" score. When 
knowledge scores were related to at- 
titude scores, it was found that the 
higher the individual's knowledge rat- 
ing, the higher his attitude rating 
tended to be; indicating that the more 
people know about the telephone 
company, the better they feel toward 

Another use for the scoring tech- 
nique is in determining the public 
relations significance of difficulties 
people may have with telephone serv- 
ice — such, for example, as slow dial 
tone or wrong numbers. In the case 
of each difficulty, it is essential to 
know at least two things: first, the 
number of people who have experi- 
enced it; and, second, how much dif- 
ference it makes to the individual 
when it does occur. The first figure 
is simply a matter of counting people. 
The second is arrived at by compar- 
ing the attitudes of people who have 
and who have not had the difficulty, 
as measured by a score based on a 
battery of general service attitude 
questions. Where the attitude of 
the people experiencing the difficulty 
is substantially less favorable than 
the attitude of the group not affected, 
it seems reasonable to assume that 
the trouble is an irritating one; where 
the difference is small, not so irritat- 

It is particularly important that 

the basic plan of analysis of each at- 
titude survey be determined upon at 
the outset, for this affects every phase 
of the study : — the field to be covered 
by the questions, the exact form the 
questions are to take, the procedure 
to be followed In obtaining the an- 
swers, and the methods to be used In 
summarizing and analyzing results. 

Looking Ahead 

In recent years various studies 
have been undertaken on a System 
basis In which most of the companies 
have participated. During the war 
period, for example, surveys of the 
opinions of applicants who had to 
wait for service were made by almost 
all of the companies, and most of 
them also conducted opinion studies 
among rural telephone subscribers. 
Some of the companies are making 
surveys to determine the service needs 
of non-subscribers In rural areas. 
Others have inaugurated continuing 
studies of the attitudes of their cus- 
tomers toward telephone service. 

These surveys and others have 
demonstrated the value of a coordi- 
nated research program. And it 
must be borne In mind that the suc- 
cess of such a program depends in 
large measure on the extent to which 
an effort Is made by management and 
by supervisory people to determine 
how the findings of attitude surveys 
may be used to greatest advantage 
in helping to solve the problems of 
the business. 

Research of the type described In 
this article can be of particular value 
at a time when new problems are aris- 
ing and previously established prece- 
dents no longer seem to apply. Look- 
ing ahead, many changes in operating 
methods can be expected — changes 
which will affect directly millions of 
telephone users. Public opinion is In 
a constant state of flux; changes in 
opinion seem to be occurring at an 
accelerated rate, and this may be ex- 
pected to create many new customer 
and public-relations problems. 

The fact that the Bell System is 
entrusted with supplying telephone 


Bell Telephone Magazine 


^^-"jrom «^ 

Various means are used to publicize the results of opinion 



Finding Out What People Think of Us 


service to the great majority of the 
people in this country places large 
responsibilities on its Associated Com- 
panies. Since telephone service is an 
essential service, the public has an 
important stake in the welfare of the 
telephone business, and should be in- 
terested in many of its problems. For 
example, the public is directly con- 
cerned with the adequacy of telephone 
company earnings if the service is to 
continue to expand and improve. 

In promoting mutual understand- 
ing, a continuous inward flow of in- 
formation from the public seems es- 
sential. In order that the System 
may be assured of keeping abreast of 
changes in public thinking, a project 
has recently been inaugurated which 
calls for periodic soundings, on a 
nation-wide basis, of public opinion 
toward the telephone business. 

Equally important, of course, is 
the outward flow of information from 
the company to the public. Every 
year the Bell System devotes a con- 
siderable amount of effort and money 
to keeping the public informed about 
the telephone business. Many differ- 
ent methods are employed to reach 
the public with our messages. If our 
informative activities are to be along 
the most productive lines, we need in- 
formation regarding the public's re- 
action to them, and all the evidence 
obtainable as to their effectiveness. 

The reputation of the telephone 
company as a business organization is 
determined primarily by the quality 
of its service and by the skill and un- 
derstanding used in its day-to-day 

contacts with the public. If the tele- 
phone companies are to provide good 
service, they must know what the 
user expects in the way of service, and 
what he likes and does not like about 
the service he is getting. One of the 
most important functions of the re- 
search activity should be to supple- 
ment the present internal measure- 
ments and indexes by providing con- 
tinuing measurements of the quality 
of service from the public's point of 


In dealing with the many problems 
of human relations which character- 
ize the telephone business, there is 
obviously no substitute for sound 
judgment on the part of manage- 
ment. But the more facts manage- 
ment can command, the better that 
judgment will be. 

There is probably no business in 
the country more adequately equipped 
than ours with accounting, statistical, 
and engineering records on which to 
base operations. There is probably 
no business where progress has been 
more dependent upon factual knowl- 
edge developed through technological 
research. And there is every reason 
to believe that facts regarding the 
many human — and hence intangible 
— aspects of our business can be made 
available through the application of 
the research technique; the same sys- 
tematic, painstaking method of in- 
quiry which has brought the physical 
facilities for telephone communica- 
tion to their present high state of de- 

special Efforts and Arrangements by the A, T, &f T, Long 

Lines Department Have Enabled Thousands of Members of 

Our Armed Forces Overseas to Telephone Home 

Three-Minute Furloughs 

Harold ^. White 

At 2 :20 P.M. on Thursday, Febru- 
ary 21, 1946, a nervous G.I. stepped 
into a telephone booth in Titania 
Palast, Berlin, and picked up the re- 
ceiver. Three minutes later, flushed 
and jubilant, he came out, the first 
soldier to call the United States from 
the German capital. He had talked 
to his folks back home in Philadel- 
phia. "Nothing to it," he said, "but, 
brother, it's amazing. Clear as a 
bell. Talked to my wife, mother, 
father, sister. Recognized all their 

A few weeks previously, on the 
opposite side of the world, an Ameri- 
can soldier had emerged from a tele- 
phone booth in Tokyo greatly reas- 
sured. First to call from there since 
the war, he had talked to his wife, 
who had been ill, in Wichita, Kansas. 

Those calls were two among thou- 
sands that our men have placed from 
foreign lands. "Three Minute Fur- 
lough" is the name that ^tars and 
Stripes * gave to these brief but preci- 
ous contacts with home which over- 
seas radio telephone service has made 

available to the men and women in 
the services. Those two calls were 
notable because they marked the cli- 
max of the job of restoring overseas 
telephone service to war-torn areas. 

For the war had disrupted overseas 
service to many foreign points. 

In 1939, when the United Kingdom 
and France went to war against Ger- 
many, calls to and from the United 
States were limited to government 
business. In 1940 France fell, and 
the New York— Paris circuit went 

After the Jap attack on Pearl 
Harbor, the circuit to Japan was 
turned down when an operator in 
Tokyo said that she could accept no 
further calls — in the circumstances, 
rather an understatement. Service 
with Germany and Italy was sus- 
pended when war was declared. 

Early in 1942, as the Japs were 
approaching Manila, the Manila sta- 
tion reported that the privacy device, 

* Available evidence indicates that the phrase 
may have been first used in The Caribbean 
Breeze, publication of the Sixth Air Force. 

Three-Minute Furloughs 


which might have been valuable to the 
Japs, was out of order for an in- 
definite period and a less modern de- 
vice was being substituted for it. 
Code words were established daily 
for contact, to be sure that service 
was with our own people and not the 
enemy. Then, with the fall of 
Manila, another circuit became silent. 
The loyal Filipinos had smashed the 
privacy equipment and dumped it in- 
to Manila Bay. 

Thus, while service with South 
America and the Caribbean remained 
available to the public, in Europe only 
Switzerland, Spain, and Portugal 
maintained commercial service; and 
in the Pacific, only Hawaii. All calls 
to and from the United States were 
subject to censorship after the attack 
on Pearl Harbor. Meanwhile, much 
of our equipment on these shores went 
to war as a fundamental part of the 
Army's world-wide communications 
network and for use in short-wave 
broadcasts by the O.W.I. 

The American Theater 


I While our service men were in the 
[ States, assigned to military stations 
I throughout the country, many of them 
i eased the transition from peacetime 
1 pursuits to the business of war by 
telephoning home.* When they 
reached points beyond the continental 
United States, their desire to call 
home was increased rather than di- 
minished. And here the Bell System 
overseas service brought to many an 
American a means of doing just that. 
For example, after that disastrous 

December 7 of 1941, the Hawaiian 
Islands developed rapidly into a con- 
centration center as troops massed 
there for the push toward Japan. 
Recognizing the need for telephone 
facilities for service people, the Mu- 
tual Telephone Company of Hawaii 
promptly established a telephone cen- 
ter for overseas calls and, in coop- 
eration with A. T. & T.'s Long Lines 
Department, increased the number of 

* See Magazine: "Service for Service Men," 
Feb. 1943; "'I Knew Then I Was Home,'" 
Autumn 1944; "That First Call Home," Autumn 

After four years: a former prisoner of 
war talks by radio telephone with mem- 
bers of his family for the first time 

radio telephone circuits between the 
Islands and the States. Over these 
circuits thousands of soldiers and 
sailors were able to get that brief 
"furlough" home. 

This service was in many cases not 
only the "last chance" for those 
headed out but also the first contact 
for those on the way back. Early 
last Fall hundreds of liberated pris- 
oners who had spent four years in the 
filth and despair of Japanese prison 


Bell Telephone Magazine 


camps made their first contact with 
home by calling from Hawaii, an ex- 
perience that they and their loved 
ones alone could fully understand and 

In Panama, the troops and naval 
personnel guarding the Canal Zone 
showed a similar eagerness to call 
home. The Tropical Radio Tele- 
graph Company, too, set up a tele- 

the United States. Similarly, from 
Puerto Rico, and in South America 
on the air route to Europe via Africa 
— from Curacao, Paramaribo, Recife 
and Rio — Americans in increasing 
numbers talked with home. 

To the thousands of service people 
stationed in Alaska, telephone serv- 
ice was available by means of radio 
facilities operated by the United 



Outpost of home: Hawaii. There many men released from Japanese prison camps 
had their first voice contacts with their loved ones. Here several are waiting to 

talk home 

phone center in Panama City to ac- 
commodate service men, and this 
center became an oasis for Americans 
whose hearts were, after all, in the 
U.S.A. Prospective callers arrived 
from outlying military centers by the 
truckload, and "the trucks are in" 
from the Panama operator to the 
New York operators was the warn- 
ing of a flood of calls to all parts of 

States Army Communications Sys- 
tem. The circuits terminate at Seat- 
tle, where they are interconnected 
with Bell System wire facilities for 
the completion of calls throughout 
the United States. Service men 
stationed at Nome, Adak, Anchor- 
age and other Alaskan points have 
found this conversational link with 
the States of great value. Some 



Three-Minute Furloughs 


2500 calls a month, most of them 
personal calls by G.I.s, have been 
completed from Alaskan points via 
the Army's radio system. 

The European Theater 

In the winter of 1944, as the pros- 
pects of victory in Europe became 
daily more encouraging, the Bell Sys- 
tem began to plan not only to restore 

had new responsibilities, and would 
assume a new place, in the world. 
And — of most immediate importance 
— at the close of the war many 
Americans would be in foreign lands, 
eager for the sound of voices from 

As to conditions in enemy-occupied 
territories, nothing was known con- 
cerning the state of the radio tele- 

Men by the truckload poured into Panama City to place calls to the United States 

the overseas services that had been 
disrupted but also to create an over- 
seas system which would meet the 
needs of the post-war world. From 
the growth of traffic among those 
services still operating, it was appar- 
ent that the future needs of the world 
for international telephone service 
would be many times greater than 
they have ever been; that America 

phone equipments nor the land-line 
systems; but it was a safe assumption 
that much had been or would be 
smashed to bits in the path of the 
retreating enemy. 

At about the time that the Germans 
were retreating north of Rome and 
were being forced back on the Rhine, 
a representative of Long Lines began 
arrangements in London with the 


Bell Telephone Magazine 


governments of Norway, Belgium, 
and Holland, then in exile, for the re- 
sumption of the war-interrupted serv- 
ice to their countries. He also visited 
Rome and Paris, hardly yet cleared of 
the enemy, to lay the foundation for 
restoration of telephone service with 
the United States. For both the 
Army and A. T. & T. recognized 
that it would be most important to 
the morale of American occupation 

General Post Office to make the over- 
seas service, which had been limited 
to official calls, available for public 

At that time the British communi- 
cations system was still greatly over- 
loaded because of bomb damage, 
war-time shortages, and post-war 
readjustment needs. It was at first 
thought that, because of this serious 
congestion, the system could not take 

The British set up a radio telephone center near London's Rainbow Corner 

forces to provide them with a means 
of telephoning home. 

Arrangements with Great Britain 

To THESE ends, plans went forward, 
looking toward both the immediate 
needs of the G.I. and the ultimate 
communications needs of a world at 

Shortly after V-E Day, arrange- 
ments were made with the British 

the added burden of G.I. calls from 
all parts of the United Kingdom and 
therefore overseas calls should be 
limited initially to those originating 
at a telephone center in London. 
However, General Post Office officials 
said that they wanted to give all 
American fighting men in Britain an 
equal opportunity; that the British 
people were grateful to them and anx- 
ious to accommodate them. They 


Three-Minute Furloughs 


therefore willingly assumed this ad- 
ditional burden, and public telephone 
service between all of Great Britain 
and the United States became avail- 
able on June 23, 1945. 

The response of men and women 
in uniform to this offering was im- 
mediate and heavy. Additional cir- 
cuits were quickly added between 
New York and London, but bookings 

Club. The center fortunately ad- 
joined a pub, and it became the cus- 
tom for G.I.s to be paged at the pub 
when their calls were ready. 

In certain parts of Britain, it is 
common for public telephones to be 
mounted out of doors, as are fire 
boxes in this country. One sergeant 
placed a call from one of these boxes 
and then took his blanket roll to the 

ran days in advance, A Long Lines box and slept beside it until his call 

The London-New York circuits were swamped at first 

trafl'ic representative thereupon flew 
to London to work out, in coopera- 
tion with traffic experts there, proce- 
dures which would speed the flow of 
messages; and representatives of the 
GPO came to New York for the same 

The GPO established a telephone 
center on Shaftesbury Avenue in Lon- 
don, near Picadilly Circus and the 
famous Rainbow Corner Red Cross 

was completed. A number of soldiers 
on leave on the Continent hitchhiked 
to Britain on Army planes to get in a 
call home. 

Some 9,000 calls a month were 
completed, most of them for men and 
women of the American services. 

When in Rome 

When the Allied Command took 
over in Rome, it found the telephone 


Bell Telephone Magazine 


The Red Cross decorated the room in Rome where members of the American serv- 
ices waited for their calls back home to come through 

system of the city in a deplorable 
state. Nobody could place a call with 
any certainty of completing it. Trans- 
mission was poor and cut-offs fre- 
quent. However, the Germans, in re- 
treating, had sent non-technical troops 
to destroy the radio transmitting 
equipment. At the station they found 
some massive but obsolete long-wave 
transmitters which they thoroughly 
destroyed — fortunately leaving the 
smaller, modern short-wave equip- 
ment virtually intact. At the direc- 
tion of the Allied Commission, and 
with the assistance of the U. S. Army 
Signal Corps, Italcable Company con- 
ditioned the equipment and estab- 
lished contact with the United States. 
Because the telephone system in 

Italy was in such poor shape, it was 
decided that overseas service for both 
G.I.s and all other users in Italy 
would be confined to a single booth 
location near the Pincio Gardens in 
Rome. Here, beginning on July i, 
1945, calls were booked, scheduled, 
and completed to the United States. 
The demand was so great that it was 
necessary at first to limit all calls to 
three minutes, in order that as many 
as possible might enjoy the privilege. 
The Allied Commission found that 
G.I.s, impatient to complete their 
calls, became restless when inevitable 
delays occurred. At such times, a 
loudspeaker was switched on in the 
waiting room and the voices of the 
operators working on their calls could 



Three-Min ute Furlo ughs 


be heard. Such evidence of activity 
on the circuit, and the sound of Amer- 
ican voices naming American towns 
and cities, relieved the tension con- 

This efficiently run unit, which 
handled as many as 3500 calls a 
month, became a model for terminals 
which were later set up in other war- 
torn areas. When long distance lines 
became available to northern Italy, 
overseas telephone centers were also 
established at Udine and Leghorn. 

At Pontoise, near Paris, the re- 
treating Germans made a determined 
effort to destroy radio equipment, and 

particularly that formerly used for 
service to America. This they 
smashed into pieces no bigger than a 
man's hand. They imprisoned the 
staff, blew up one end of the building, 
set it afire, and withdrew. 

The French freed themselves, and 
saved part of the building; but it was 
necessary for the Ministry of Posts, 
Telegraphs, and Telephones to ob- 
tain new equipment from the West- 
ern Electric Company in the United 
States before service could be re- 
stored. A Long Lines representative 
spent several months assisting the 
French Telecommunications Admin- 

An American soldier and his French bride, in Paris, talk with the former's parents 
in the U. S. — the Parisienne reading a typed statement in English as her contribution 

to international good will 


Bell Telephone Magazine 


istration to install and test it. He 
encountered many difficulties while 
working in buildings which were with- 
out adequate heat and light. Power 
was rationed, and subject to frequent 
interruption, and little items, such as 
bolts and screws, which can be ob- 

ly crowded to telephones. Despite 
the many handicaps resulting from 
enemy invasion and occupation, the 
French telephone system had been 
sufficiently restored to permit inter- 
connection to the overseas system, 
thus making the service available to 

• * * ® S- B .• * 

~ + 

Soldiers visiting Switzerland on leave find it easy to make calls to their homes in 

this country 

tained in any hardware store here, 
were major supply problems in Paris. 
U. S. Army personnel gave informal 
but able assistance to the project. 

Overseas service with France was 
re-opened to the public on November 
7, 1945, and again Americans eager- 

users throughout France. A tele- 
phone center was opened on the 
Champs Elysees for American sol- 
diers, and men on leave in Paris 
flocked to it in such numbers that it 
was found impossible, with the limited 
facilities available, to handle the rush. 


Three-Minute Furloughs 


"SiG-ciRCUS," originally the Army Signal Corps's mobile overseas radio telegraph 

station, located near Frankfurt, Germany, was leased by A. T. & T.'s Long Lines 

Department and modified to handle telephone conversations 

Members of the U. S. Forces may make telephone calls to the United States from 
eight cities in Germany. In this booking office in Frankfurt — as is the rule every- 
where — people take their turns regardless of rank 


Bell Telephone Magazine 


It was necessary, therefore, to close 
this center temporarily, and calls 
were completed instead through pub- 
lic and private phones. 

Switzerland, surrounded by com- 
batants, maintained service with the 
United States throughout the war — al- 
though with difficulty. Improvisa- 
tions were necessary to make up for 
wartime scarcities, and vital parts, 
such as vacuum tubes, were several 
times flown into the country via 
Portugal. Soldiers began to visit 
there after V— E Day, first in small 
numbers and later in larger groups 
under an organized leave program 

having radio telephone service avail- 
able to the States. But Germany was 
smashed — politically, economically, 
and physically. There was no equip- 
ment available, no constituted author- 
ity to operate it, no organization re- 
maining upon which a nucleus of a 
public telephone system could be built. 
So the Army asked the Long Lines 
Department to establish service by 
operating both the German and 
American ends of a radio telephone 
system. This was an unprecedented 
step. It was tackled, nevertheless, In 
the interest of the G.I.s' needs. 
Army radio equipment which could 


sponsored by the Army and the Red 
Cross. The Swiss Administration of 
Posts and Telegraphs, one of the 
most competent communication agen- 
cies in Europe, promptly made plans 
to meet the natural urge for soldiers 
there to call the United States. A 
second radio circuit was added with 
Berne, and soon 4000 soldiers a 
month were pouring their greetings 
across the Atlantic to the folks at 

For G.I.s in Germany 

In Germany, the U. S. Army quick- 
ly recognized the advantages to the 
welfare of the occupation troops of 

be modified for telephone service was 
available In Frankfurt, and the Army 
agreed to lease it to Long Lines 
for this purpose. Known in the Sig- 
nal Corps as the "Sig-circus", It was 
a multi-channel single-sideband tele- 
graph system mounted on trucks, com- 
plete with power supply, and was 
used from advanced areas In Europe 
to establish direct communication 
with Washington. 

In early December, 1945, fifteen 
Long Lines men and a couple of tons 
of special Western Electric Company 
equipment were flown by Army plane 
to Frankfurt to establish the service. 
It was a pretty tough job, and this 


Three-Minute Furloughs 


little group was very much on its own. 
All about them lay the vast ruins of 
a nation prostrated by war. Com- 
munication, transportation, supply 
were virtually non-existent — except- 
ing as they had been restored by the 
Army for Army purposes. 

To get service going took a lot of 
doing. The radio equipment had to 
be modified for telephone use, con- 
ditioned, and tested. Arrangements 
had to be made with the Army for 
'the establishment of suitable tele- 
phone centers in eight cities in the 
American Zone, and land lines con- 
necting the other seven with Frank- 

passport. They finally were stopped 
by a Russian who apparently didn't 
smoke, and so spent the night in the 

The U. S. Army gave the fullest 
assistance in every phase of the un- 
dertaking, and provided our men 
with living quarters, transportation, 
and supplies. Army-approved Ger- 
man civilians were recruited to assist 
in both the technical and operating 
phases of the work. During time off 
from their duties, G.I.s were glad to 
help out as operators or as assistants 
in the calling centers. 

On January 10, 1946, preliminary 

furt had to be established and tested. 
Meanwhile, there were the tasks of 
staflSng the centers; working out de- 
tails for the booking and handling of 
calls and the handling of funds; es- 
tablishing a switchboard at Frank- 
furt; and arranging a coordinated 
i schedule for operating it. In fact, 
these Long Lines men had to put 
their hand to almost all the jobs 
which have to be done to make a tele- 
phone system work. 

They had minor adventures, too. 

Though armed with credentials, two 

Long Liners, travelling from Berlin 

: through the Russian occupied zone, 

! found that cigarettes were the best 

work was completed and service was 
opened to the United States from 
Frankfurt and Munich. On succes- 
sive weeks Heidelburg, Nuremburg, 
Bremen, Kassel, and Stuttgart were 
linked on; and by February 21 the 
network was completed with the open- 
ing at Berlin. 

Only calls placed from Germany 
could be handled, because of the dif- 
ficulty and delay which would have 
resulted from trying to locate sol- 
diers to receive calls placed by their 
families or friends in the United 
States. The response to the service 
was, to the telephone men, a gratify- 
ing reward for their efforts. 


Bell Telephone Magazine 


The service was originally estab- 
lished with two transatlantic tele- 
phone circuits and a teletype order 
circuit over which booking informa- 
tion and call reports were passed. 
Soon a third telephone circuit had to 
be added; and with this arrangement, 
calls have been completed at the rate 
of some 7,000 a month. 

A FRIENDLY SPIRIT pervaded the tele- 
phone centers, and the soldiers co- 
operated splendidly in following the 
calling procedure. Usually each cal- 
ler emerged from the booth wreathed 
in smiles and pretty well set up — 
although emergency calls, which were 
given priority when certified by the 
Red Cross and a unit chaplain, some- 
times brought distressing news from 

Calls were booked in advance; and 
at booking hours the men counted off 
in the line the number of calls al- 
lotted for that day — as shown by a 
placard in the office window — and 
the rest went away, to come back and 
try again the next time. One morning 
at 3 :oo o'clock a pair of weary Long 
Lines men were closing up the center 
in Nuremburg when they were ap- 
proached by a soldier wrapped in a 
blanket. "Where does the line 
form?" he asked. 

At Bremen one morning a G.L came 
in to call his mother in Brooklyn. 
When he heard her voice he jumped 
up and down in his excitement until 
he crashed through the floor of the 
booth into a hole that happened to be 
beneath it. He completed the call, 
with his head just visible through the 
window, bellowing up to the trans- 
mitter. He climbed out of the booth, 
said he had had a fine talk, made no 
other comment, and walked out smil- 

ing. Stout planks were installed in the 
booth, and service was continued. 

A boy from Oklahoma called home 
from Kassel one stormy day and 
walked out of the center in a dream. 
Five minutes later he came back, 
drenched to the skin, and said, 
"Reckon I'd better take my hat and 
coat along." 

The Pacific Theater 

Our forces in the Pacific gots lots 
of service too. Service with Australia 
was re-opened to the public on Sep- 
tember 15, 1945, and immediately 
carried capacity traflic, many calls be- 
ing made by G.Ls stationed there. A 
direct U. S.— New Zealand circuit was 
established for the first time on Oc- 
tober 25, 1945, offering another link 
to American soldiers and sailors 
"down under." 

The Supreme Command for the 
Allied Powers in Japan likewise 
wanted service to the States for serv- 
ice men, and asked the Bell System 
to send a representative there to as- 
sist in establishing It. Arriving in 
Tokyo in November, 1945, he found 
the destruction and disorder charac- 
teristic of conquered territory. How- 
ever, unlike Germany, Japan was not 
completely disorganized, since the 
structure of the Japanese Imperial 
Government had been maintained. 

The Board of Communications of 
Japan was still to some extent a going 
concern under military direction, and 
It was attempting to restore com- 
munications to meet the Army's needs. 
The radio equipment and the essen- 
tial units of the control equipment 
were found to have escaped the 
B-29S and were intact, although in 
very poor condition. Here also the 
land-line system was in too sorry a 


Three-Minute Furloughs 


state to permit connections with the 
overseas circuit. At the direction of 
the Army, and under the guidance of 
the Long Lines representative, the 
Japs prepared the equipment for serv- 
ice and established and organized a 
telephone center for overseas calls. 

paintings graced the walls and a small 
vase held a single orchid. ♦ 

On January 10, 1946, everything 
was in readiness. English-speaking 
Japanese operators, trained by an 
Army lieutenant who had stuciied 
Japanese in college, covered the 

The Long Lines man. In comment- switchboard, Jap technicians manned 
ing on the attitude of the Japanese the equipment, and the first call was 
who worked on the project, said, "I completed. At first, because of the 

l\ Japax, the details of calls to this country are handled by the Army, but Japanese 

operators set up the connections 

had to give up thinking out loud, be- 
cause what I thought were just Ideas 
the Japs took as orders for execution 
pronto." For example, looking at a 
littered corner of the room which 
was to become the telephone center, 
lie had remarked wryly, "This ought 
to be OK when we get it painted and 
pictures on the wall and flowers 
aroimd." On opening day several oil 

great demand, only calls involving 
emergencies at home were accepted, 
but as the kinks were ironed out serv- 
ice was made available to all G.Ls and 
other accredited personnel in Japan. 

Meanwhile, Manila was struggling 
toward rehabilitation after enemy oc- 
cupation and the ruin created by the 
bitter fighting when the city was re- 



Bell Telephone Magazine 


taken. The main building of the Phil- 
ippines Long Distance Telephone 
Company in downtown Manila had 
been reduced to rubble, but an office 
building nearby which could be used 
was still standing. It was shell-splat- 
tered and surrounded by wreckage, 
but needed repairs were soon made. 
The radio equipment had been com- 
pletely destroyed, however. 

New equipment to replace it had 
been ordered prior to V-J Day, and 
installation was started — under diffi- 
culty — as soon at it arrived. 

Filipinos who had survived the 
enemy occupation returned to their 
old jobs. One of them, a Philippine 
Army lieutenant, had lost his finger- 
nails under Japanese torture. Some 

of the technicians and operators re- 
turned with small but valuable items 
of equipment which they had taken 
home before the enemy arrived and 
had hidden during the occupation. 

Service with Manila opened in 
January, 1946. By that time the 
Manila exchange area had been suffi- 
ciently restored to permit direct over- 
seas connections to a limited number 
of telephones in the city and at mili- 
tary and naval establishments nearby. 
A telephone center of the familiar 
pattern was set up in the downtown 

Booking of calls from this center 
began immediately, and was for a 
time considerably in excess of the ca- 
pacity of the two Manila-San Fran- 

Two-WAY telephone service between Manila and this country was restored last 
January. Here Americans in the war-torn Philippine city are booking calls and 

waiting to talk 


Three-Minute Furloughs 


New equipment, ordered trom Western Electric before 

V-J Day, had to be installed in Manila before telephone 

service with the United States could be resumed 

cIsco circuits as G.I.s eagerly placed 
calls to all parts of the United States. 
Through the efforts of the Philip- 
pines Company, arrangements were 
made whereby, despite the limited 
facilities available, people in the 
United States could call men stationed 
in the Manila area, and many people 
in this country have availed them- 
selves of the opportunity. Because 
many of the men called could not be 
located, the Philippines Company hit 
upon the scheme of publishing daily 
lists of "men wanted" in the Army 
paper "Pacifican" — which often drew 
them to the center. Here too some 
2400 G.I.s each month have been 
able to gain that priceless "three 
minute furlough." 

While Americans have grown to 
accept the telephone instrument and 
the job It does as a commonplace 
In this country, to many members of 
the Armed Forces In the strange sur- 
roundings of foreign countries this 
familiar service has taken on a special 
worth. Since V— E Day more than a 
quarter of a million calls by Ameri- 
cans in uniform have been completed 
from far-distant points by means of 
the overseas services. The Bell Sys- 
tem is proud that, with the coopera- 
tion of telephone administrations 
abroad. It has made possible this host 
of conversations which have contrib- 
uted so greatly to the morale, the hap- 
piness, of the American men and 
women stationed around the globe. 





Traffic cop of invasion: the Laboratories' "beachmaster" adaptation of a Bell 

System public address loudspeaker (above). Truck-mounted rocket launchers 

(below) in action using a fire-control device developed by the Laboratories 

The Special Knowledge^ Skills^ and Form of Organization 

Of the Bell System's Research Unit Contributed in Many 

Ways to the Prosecution of the War 

Bell Laboratories' Role 

in Victory 

Philip C. Jones 

I. Telephones at War 

The war-time contributions of 
the Laboratories were by no means 
limited to direct instrumentalities of 
war.* Both the Army and Navy re- 
quired also many types of communica- 
tion systems, and their development 
was undertaken by the Laboratories 
as a matter of course. 

Military telephone instruments — 
microphones, headsets, and loud- 
speakers — should be designed to pick 
up and deliver messages and orders 
I with high intelligibility under the 
noise of battle. They should be con- 
venient and easy to use with a wide 
variety of equipment. They should 
withstand the rough and varied usage 
of modern warfare. 

* See Magazine: "Electric Brain," Winter 
1943-44; "Bell Laboratories in the War," 
Winter 1944-45; "Radar and Bell Laboratories," 
Winter 1945-46. 

Noise is one of the chief obstacles 
which has to be overcome in devising 
instruments suitable for the Armed 
Forces. Another consideration is 
that of varying climatic conditions. 
Still another is the occurrence of rapid 
temperature and pressure changes — 
as with a plane rising or descending 
sharply. Instruments must be de- 
signed, therefore, to operate over an 
extremely wide range of conditions. 

An important requirement is that 
all instruments must be designed to 
fit into the paraphernalia used by the 
Armed Forces. Microphones, for ex- 
ample, have to fit into and become 
an integral part of oxygen masks, 
and to be used with noise shields, 
under gas masks, anci other similar 
equipment. Receivers are used in 
tank helmets, aviators' helmets, and 
under those of the Signal Corps men. 


Bell Telephone Magazine 


Left to right: anb stand- 
ard receiver, lip micro- 
phone, transmitter,_!with 
noise shield 

With all these instrument demands, 
it is highly important from the manu- 
facturing and supply standpoints to 
employ a few basic transmitter and 
receiver units which can be adapted to 
all of the military uses. 

Receivers and Microphones 

A HEAD RECEIVER UNIT which largely 
overcame extraneous noise by both its 
electrical design and Its use of soft- 
rubber ear pads was designed by 
the Laboratories and designated by 
the Joint Radio Board as an ANB 
(Army, Navy, British) standard. 
The receiver unit was equipped with 
a molded phenol-plastic case having 
stepped contours to fit the various 
headbands of the Armed Forces. The 
headset is used by ground forces, 
bomber crews, and wherever protec- 
tive helmets are not required. The 
same receiver without a headband is 
placed In aviators' helmets. 

A small headset was required to 
fit under the steel helmet of the serv- 
ice men; and for this, receivers of the 
audlphone type were employed. 

These are only seven-eighths of an 
inch in diameter and are equipped 
with soft-rubber ear plugs. A wire 
headband attached to them can be 
bent to fit the user's head and He 
snugly under the steel helmet. 

Microphones must exclude from 
the telephone line or radio transmit- 
ter as much as possible of the noise 
that Is present. Three methods have 
been used to obtain this exclusion. 

One method Is to make the Instru- 
ment relatively insensitive to noise. 
The throat microphone does this. It 
consists of two transmitter units worn 
high up on the neck with a unit press- 
ing against each side of the throat. 
Speech vibrations are transmitted to 
the microphone through the neck tis- 
sues; and inasmuch as the microphone 
is designed to pick up mechanical vi- 
brations of the throat rather than the 
acoustical vibrations In the air, a fair 
degree of discrimination between 
noise and speech is attained. The 
over-all response of the throat micro- 
phone, however, Is not all that is to 
be desired, because chiefly the low- 
frequency throat sounds are trans- 


Bell Laboratories' Role in Victory 


mitted; the high-frequency sounds 
which are formed in the oral and 
nasal passages are not included in the 
proper proportion. 

Another way of excluding noise in 
the microphone is illustrated by the 
noise shield. This unit has a granu- 
ilar-carbon microphone unit built into 
it, and is worn over the mouth and 
nose. A good degree of noise ex- 
clusion is obtained, and at the same 
time the speech transmitted is of a 
high order of intelligibility because 
sounds from both the nose and mouth 
reach the microphone. 

The aviator's oxygen mask is simi- 
larly a noise shield, and actually 
forms the mouthpiece for the micro- 
iphone. The microphone design was 
coordinated with the design of the 
oxygen mask, and the unit — of either 

the granular-carbon or magnetic type 
— was standardized for the Army, 
Navy, and British oxygen masks. 

The third method of restricting 
noise from the microphone, and one 
which provides a good degree of dis- 
crimination between speech and noise, 
is by the use of the lip microphone. 
The principle of this microphone is 
very simple. If a diaphragm is open 
on both sides, noise will reach it with 
substantially the same intensity and 
phase at each side, and therefore will 
tend to cancel out. Then when one 
talks very close to one side of the dia-" 
phragm, the speech will actuate the 
diaphragm principally from that one 
side, and hence the ratio of speech 
to noise transmitted will be high. 

This microphone is equipped with 
a harness so that it can be worn on 

A souND-POWERED TELEPHONE in usc aboard a U. S. warship 


Bell Telephone Magazine 



the lip, making the speech path to one 
side of the diaphragm very short. It 
can also be used with many of the 
devices provided by the military serv- 
ices, and has been standardized for 
Army and Navy use. 

Sound-powered Telephones 

Another group of military tele- 
phone instruments includes the sound- 
powered telephones. A sound-pow- 
ered instrument is one which is de- 
pendent solely on the voice as its 
source of energy. No battery or 
other external power supply is used. 
The sound-powered transmitter is a 
generator which creates the voice- 
modulated currents transmitted over 
the line. At the receiving end there 
is a similar instrument in which the 
transmitted frequencies are recon- 
verted into speech. Bell's original 
telephone was a sound-powered in- 

Although the principle of sound- 
power is not new, the instruments of 
the type used in the recent war have 
been improved by the use of high- 
grade magnetic alloys, which have 
permitted good efficiency with a sub- 
stantial reduction in size of instru- 

Sound-powered instruments are 
built in a variety of forms, such as 
handsets, headsets, and chest sets. 
Used extensively aboard ship for fire 
control and other command purposes, 
they replaced speaking tubes, which 
in the old days ran from one end of 
the ship to othe other. Being en- 
tirely independent of an external 
power source, sound-powered instru- 
ments supply effective emergency com- 
munication even though the ship's 
power has been entirely crippled. 

Another use of sound-powered in- 

struments, which is rapidly gaining 
favor, is in portable field telephone 
sets for use where dry cells, with 
which most of these sets were then 
equipped, either did not operate effec- 
tively or had a very short life. With 
Army field wire lying on the ground 
but in good condition, sound-pow- 
ered instruments operate satisfactor- 
ily up to eight or ten miles. 

Flying Telephone Wire 

In order that it may pay out rapidly 

and smoothly from an airplane in flight, 

the field wire is wound on a special 

machine into criss-cross coils 

Early in 1944 the Air Technical 
Service Command requested the Lab- 
oratories to study the possibilities of 
laying telephone wire from the air — 
and to do it on a rush basis. It was 
specified that standard Army field 
wire be used, a flying speed of 150 
miles per hour was designated, and 
the maximum length of wire to be 
laid in a single flight was put at 15 

An outdoor laboratory was set up 
at Murray Hill, N. J., including a 40- 


Bell Laboratories' Role in Victory 


foot tower near the top of which ex-. 
perlmental packs of wire might be 
placed. In a building several hundred 
feet away, a motor-driven drum was 
located by means of which wire could 
be drawn at speeds up to 200 miles 
per hour from the coils or packs in 
which it was wound. At this labora- 

Air Base and assigning to it a Labor- 
atories flight testing team. A total 
of well over 200 test flights were 
made — in which the performance of 
the various types of coils and packs, 
as well as inter-coil splicing methods, 
were thoroughly studied. 

In the standardized system two 

Sixteen miles of field wire are coiled within the boxes fastened securely in this 
plane, the outside end of each coil spliced to the inside end of the next coil 

tory the performance of various types 
of coils and packs was studied with 
the aid of high-speed cameras and 
electrical devices. 

Flight testing was also speeded by 
establishing a field laboratory in a 
building provided by the Air Tech- 
nical Service Command at Fort Dix 

wires, twisted together as manufac- 
tured, are wound on a specially de- 
signed machine into "criss-cross" or 
"universal" coils, similar in form to 
the balls of lacing twine used by the 
telephone installer. Each coil con- 
tains one or two miles of wire, de- 
pending upon the type, and each is 


Bell Telephone Magazine 


encased in a square wooden box with a 
hole in each side about one-half the 
outside diameter of the coil. 

When a mission is to be flown, the 
number of boxes required are loaded 
into a C-47 plane, lined up in echelon 
from the open doorway to the for- 
ward end of the cargo space, and se- 
cured to the floor. The outside end 
of each coil is carefully spliced to the 
inside end of the following coil. The 
inside end of the first coil is led out- 
side the plane through a pipe about 
six inches in diameter and brought 
back into the cargo space, where it is 
attached to a weighted parachute. 
After taking off, the pilot flies over 
the starting point of the line as identi- 
fied by landmarks or panels on the 
ground, and a member of the crew 
throws out the parachute. As the 
wire thrums out from the pipe at 
speeds up to 250 feet a second, it set- 
tles to the ground with the parachute. 
Eventually the other end of the wire 
pulls free of the plane and is picked 
up by the second ground party. 

Success was soon attained in one- 
mile flights. Gradually, the number 
of successful runs increased, and the 
test lengths mounted from one mile to 
two miles, and then to four and six. 
Finally a successful 15-mile run, the 
specified maximum, was made over 
the flat, woody terrain of Fort Dix. 

As finally turned over to the Army 
Air Forces, the system may be used 
with C-47 cargo planes to lay either 
a new plastic-insulated (polyethyl- 
ene) wire or the heavier present 
standard field wires used by the 
United States and Great Britain. 

The Spiral-4 System 

Another communication system, for 
an entirely different service, is the 

Spiral-4 cable system. It employs a 
four-conductor cable developed by 
Bell Laboratories in cooperation with 
the Signal Corps. The cable can be 
buried, laid on the ground, or sus- 
pended in the air. The system 
provides three telephone channels, in- 
cluding both voice and carrier fre- 
quencies, and four telegraph circuits. 
Voice frequencies are heard satisfac- 
torily up to forty miles without am- 
plification. All the channels can be 
amplified by a single compact re- 
peater. These are spaced twenty-five 
miles apart and extend the range to 
two hundred miles. 

The cable is made in quarter-mile 
lengths with quick coupling connec- 
tors at each end to permit extending 
a circuit to any desired distance. In 
each connector, one of the pairs of 
conductors is loaded with small coils 
also developed by the Laboratories. 

Copper strands, individually in- 
sulated, are twisted together to form 
"spiral four" conductor. Strength is 
provided by enclosing the cable in a 
braid of small high-strength steel 
wires. A tough rubber jacket com- 
pletes the four-conductor cable. 

This system extends the distance 
over which telephone communication 
can be quickly established by our field 

Atr Warning Systems 

Before the Pearl Harbor attack, 
an elaborate communications network 
with permanently located "filtering" 
and "information" centers had been es- 
tablished along our seaboard to com- 
bat possible air raids. Thousands of 
airplane spotters located at scattered 
points reported to the filter centers all 
planes observed. Here the various re- 


Bell Laboratories' Role in Victory 


ports were checked against each 
other, the positions of the planes 
were indicated on large maps, and 
suitable instructions would be issued 
— if required — to the various fighter 
commands, other Services, and Civil- 
ian Defense authorities,* 

The Army Air Force, which had 
been responsible for the development 
of the coastal system, recognized that 

In cooperation with the Laborator- 
ies' engineers, the Army Air Force set 
up the requirements, and during the 
early development stages, discussions 
were also held with the Navy and 
Marine Corps to insure that the 
equipment developed could be used by 
all the Armed Forces. 

The development of the new port- 
able operations center, called the 

An an/ttq.1 portable operations center installed in a tent 

similar systems and centers would be 
; required in the overseas theaters to 
! control our tactical air forces. As a 

result, the Laboratories undertook 
I the design of portable equipment 
I along similar lines but modified to 
! meet conditions on the fighting fronts. 

* See "Telephone Lines and Air Defense," 
Magazine, February, 1942. 

an/ttq-i, had two main objectives: 
a reduction in size and weight to 
achieve greater portability and less 
effort in setting up or dismantling; 
and a simplification of the equipment 
to facilitate operation and mainte- 
nance. Since the equipment might 
have to be transported by cargo plane 
and set up in buildings with narrow 
doors and stairways, it was specified 



Bell Telephoyie Magazine 


that no package should weigh more 
than 250 pounds nor be greater than 
4 feet in any dimension, nor more 
than 2 feet in at least one dimension. 
To facilitate the stacking of the pack- 
ages for shipment no dimensions 
other than i, 2, or 4 feet were to be 
used at all. 

Operations Center an/ttq— i con- 
sists of communications equipment 
needed to receive and evaluate mili- 
tary information on aircraft for a 
geographical area, and to direct the 
action required by the information re- 
ceived. Information on all friendly 
and enemy aircraft in the area in- 
volved is received by telephone or 
radio and plotted on a large table 
map. Platforms carrying a bench 
and table are placed around the large 
map table for use of Air Force per- 
sonnel, who can watch the activities 
indicated on the table maps, pass in- 

formation to other interested military 
agencies, and order the proper action 
to be taken. Since such procedures 
involve fighter planes, radio contact 
must be maintained from the Center 
to planes in flight. 

In addition to air warning and 
fighter-control functions, the Marine 
Corps and Army Ground Forces have 
found this equipment useful in anti- 
aircraft artillery control. In a great 
many cases, the equipment would be 
located in a building or under a tent, 
and it was therefore arranged to 
mount the platform positions and 
cabinets in 2 3/2 -ton Army trucks for 
use as mobile centers. 

The equipment as shipped from the 
Western Electric Company is com- 
plete in every detail, and needs only 
gasoline and oil for the engine alter- 
nator, a shelter, and personnel for its 

II. Giant Voices 

Through all the turmoil, noise, and 
apparei;t confusion of an invasion 
beachhead, strict control of the move- 
ments of troops and material must 
be maintained by the beachmaster 
who — acting as trafl'ic cop and dis- 
patcher — directs the incessant flow of 
foot and mechanized power. His in- 
dispensable assistant in the latter 
phases of the war was the Western 
Electric beachmaster announcing sys- 
tem, technically known as the Navy 
PAB-i Public Address Set. (See pic- 
ture on page 36.) 

But for this equipment, the voices 
of those in authority would be 
drowned out by the noise from the 
very machines and men they were en- 
deavoring to keep in efficient order 

and deployment. With its help, 
however, commands are instantly 
heard by all to whom they are di- 
rected, and there is no loss of time in 
relaying messages through a chain of 

Growing from experimental, small- 
scale use of loudspeaking equipment 
in early amphibious moves, the 
PAB— I became available to the Navy 
early in 1944. It was used for the 
landing at Iwo Jima, and played its 
part in most of the rest of the Pacific 
landings. Thousands of these equip- 
ments were delivered to the Navy for 
use in the Pacific Theater before the 
end of the war, and their applications 
reached far beyond original expecta- 


Bell Laboratories' Role in Victory 


A close relative of the PAB-i set 
is the ship-mounted landing-craft an- 
nouncing system, whose major com- 
ponents are interchangeable with 
those of the former. Direct two-way 
speech communication is thus made 
possible between ships and shore. 

Classed by the Navy as semi- 
portable equipment, the PAB-i Public 
Address Set consists of a loudspeaker, 
an amplifier, a gas-engine-driven al- 
ternator, and accessories and spare 
parts. The complete system is pack- 
aged as six individual units in rugged 
water-tight reinforced steel carrying 
cases with detachable covers. Each 
case is designed for its particular com- 
ponent and has ample buoyancy so 
that, if the occasion requires, it may 
be dumped overboard and floated 

The loudspeaker is a 3X3 as- 
sembly of nine receivers coupled to 
nine horns and mounted on a yoke 
and tripod. The useful range of the 
PAB— I naturally depends on local 
conditions, and will vary in different 
'locations. When a greater area of 
coverage than that of a single system 
is needed, it is possible to operate two 
lamplifiers and loud speakers from one 
engine alternator and one micro- 
phone. Similarly, when still greater 
coverage is needed, one microphone 
may be used to operate four ampli- 
'fiers and loud speakers powered by 
two engine alternators. 

After these Public Address Sets 
[have done their part in helping to 
iestablish the beachhead, they may 
move on with the advancing troops or 
may remain to direct the continuing 
flow of supplies, machines, and 
troops. At forward command posts 
they have been used for surrender de- 
mands, and for conveying essential 

information to the troops when other 
means are either lacking or too haz- 
ardous to use. 

The Voice of Ship Command 

It is not only on invasion beaches, 
however, that high volume public ad- 
dress systems are required to over- 

A bos'n pipes the crew to attention over 
the ship's announcing system. A typ- 
ical system installed on a battleship 
includes eight transmitting stations, 294 
loudspeakers, seven local announcing 
circuits, and 31,000 feet of cable 

ride the noise of battle. Consider, 
for example, a battleship plowing si- 
lently along at night in enemy waters. 
The shrill scream of the bosn's pipe 
startles a sailor from slumber. A few 
seconds later, wide awake, he hears 
a "Bong! Bong! Bong!" — the re- 
peated bell-tone of General Alarm. 
This means an emergency. He listens 


Bell Telephone Magazine 


carefully to the announcement which 
follows, telling him the cause of the 
emergency. It might be a fire, a call 
to battle stations, or any other serious 
condition, and he goes quickly to the 
station he has been trained to man 
in such an emergency. 

These alarms and instructions come 
through the Battle Announcing Sys- 
tem, with which all of the two or 
three thousand men aboard a large 
warship are informed of trouble and 
given any necessary special instruc- 

This is one of the more spectacular 
but less usual uses of the announcing 
system. Every few minutes during 
the day the equipment is used for the 
more prosaic job of calling together 
a group for a work detail, paging an 
officer, or summoning the men to 
mess. It is the means by which all 
general commands are transmitted to 
the crew, members of which may be 
in any of the hundreds of separate 
compartments on the vessel. As many 
as two hundred or more loud-speak- 
ers are distributed throughout the 

Announcing equipment on ship- 
board is divided into several separate 
but interrelated systems. The gen- 
eral system might well be termed the 
commanding officer's system. An- 
nouncements on this system are usu- 
ally made from the point of ship con- 
trol: the bridge while under way; the 
quarter deck while at anchor; or the 
central station, deep in the most pro- 
tected part of the ship, during special 

The engineer's system is primarily 
intended for use by the Chief En- 
gineer in giving instructions to ma- 
chinery spaces. On aircraft carriers. 

the aviators' system provides for in- 
structions to hangar and flight deck. 
These systems are tied in with the 
general system, however, so that i 
alarms and general orders can be sent i' 
to all spaces. 

Each turret on cruisers and battle- 
ships, incorporating a maze of com- 
partments and intricate machinery, 
has a special two-way announcing sys- j 
tem over which the turret officer gives - 
orders for operating the turret and 
the loading, aiming, and firing of the 

The larger anti-aircraft guns are * 
under the control of an officer at an 
anti-aircraft director station, located 
high up in the ship's superstructure. 
Loud-speakers at the guns transmit i 
verbal orders from this officer, and 
also special tone signals to begin and 
cease firing. 

One of the more interesting uses • 
of announcing systems is on the flight i 
deck of aircraft carriers. Several 
super-power loud-speakers are located 
on the island structure, and pointed 
so that the entire flight deck is cov- ■ 
ered. These loud-speakers form part I 
of the system over which the Air : 
Officer, located at the control station 
above the flight deck, can give orders 
to pilots and deck crews during flight 
operations and while the airplane en-, 
gines are being warmed up. This 
system is also used for transmitting 
warning signals in flight deck emer- 
gencies. }| 

Interesting design problems arise 
because of special requirements for 
service on naval vessels. Short cir- 
cuits on loud-speakers must not inter- 
fere with operation over other loud- 
speakers. Short circuits or trouble 
grounds on microphone circuits or 



Bell Laboratories' Role in Victory 


A Navy PB4Y-Z which carried the "Polly Project" public address eqviipment to 

hail the Japs from an altitude of 10,000 feet 

j control wiring at microphone loca- 
i tions must not prevent the system 
from being used from any other mi- 
crophone location. 

Mechanically, the design problems 
become even more interesting. Great 
strength is required, and protection 
against shock, because equipment 
I must not be rendered inoperative by 
' the ship's Qwn gunfire or the shock of 
I torpedoes or near misses by aerial 
j bombs. Vibration over long periods, 
caused by the ship's engines, must 
cause no damage. Loud-speaker and 
microphone diaphragms must be de- 
signed to withstand the blast from 
nearby gun muzzles. 

All equipment located on weather 
decks must be protected from corro- 
sion by salt water. This includes mi- 
crophones, control boxes, and loud- 
speakers. In some cases, equipment 
is made watertight so that no water 
can enter. In others, equipment is 
designed with the expectation that 
water will enter, and drain holes are 
provided. Under these latter con- 
ditions, all internal parts must be 
made immune to the corrosive effect 
of sea water. 

Voices from the Sky 

There are still other situations 
which demand the use of powerful 

After V-J day, voices two miles 
up in the sky blasted the news of un- 
conditional surrender to isolated Japs 
still holding out in jungles, caves, and 
swamps on remote islands of their 
extensive stolen empire. This new 
air-borne public address equipment 
was rushed to Japan to assist in the 
enormous task of disarming Jap fight- 

The 36 horns of the new "Polly Project' 
loudspeaker as installed in the plane 


Bell Telephone Magazine 


ing men and in directing civilian 

In May of 1945, the Navy ordered 
this air-borne public address system, 
known as the "Polly Project," and 
requested that it be delivered within 
one hundred days for installation in 
three four-engine PB4Y-ZS. Bell 
Laboratories completed the design 
and the Western Electric Company 
manufactured the equipments and 
made them ready for shipment with- 
in the short time of eighty-four days. 
They were capable of being heard and 
understood on the ground from a 
height of 10,000 feet. 

The Navy order was a direct trib- 
ute to an older "Polly" equipment 
delivered in the early part of 1944. 
This latter system had a 5000-foot 
ceiling, and was used successfully for 
battering down the Jap will to re- 
sist on Wotje, Saipan, Iwo Jima, and 
Okinawa in the last stages of the war. 
Flying at 2700 feet above Wotje 
Atoll for instance — within machine 
gun range — a twin-engine Ventura 
PV— I slowly circled the atoll and then 
sounded off, saying: "Attention, 
Japanese soldier of Wotje Atoll, at- 
tention!" A short news broadcast 
followed, then a selection of Japanese 
popular music, a short propaganda 
talk, and finally more news. The 
whole program took about fifteen 
minutes, and was given twice. 

These sky programs emphasized 
straight news broadcasts to isolated 
Japs completely ignorant of the war's 
progress. Promises of good food, 
medical aid, and fair treatment helped 
coax the Nips into surrendering. On 
islands occupied by our forces, the 
Japs were ordered to report to a 

certain location. On by-passed 
islands they were told to wait for a 
landing craft. 

After Wotje, "Polly" moved on to 
Saipan and Iwo Jima. Every day 
the flack grew thicker, a testimony to 
the threat of "Polly" to Jap morale, 
as verified by questioning of Jap pris- 
oners. "Polly" landed on Okinawa 
one month after the invasion. By 
that time the plane was so badly bat- 
tered, it soon had to be abandoned 
after first removing the equipment. 

As A RESULT of these experiences, 
the Navy specified that the new 
"Polly" should be capable of operat- 
ing at a height of 10,000 feet so that 
the plane would be out of range of 
machine gunfire. This meant that a 
completely new system had to be de- 

In it, microphones are provided for 
direct broadcasting, and in addition, 
two magnetic-wire recorders are pro- 
vided to permit continuous broadcast- 
ing of previously prepared messages 
or the recording of information 
broadcast from the microphones. 
Two control panels are supplied to 
give the flexibility needed for switch- 
ing from live to prepared broadcasts, 
and for connecting to the intercom- 
munication system on the plane. 

Bell Laboratories' engineers super- 
vised the building of the equipments 
at the Western Electric Company, 
and later cooperated in installing and 
testing the equipment In all three 
planes at the Naval Aircraft Modifi- 
cation Unit at Johnsville, Pa. Each 
plane took off for Guam and points 
west as soon as the tests were com- 



Bell Laboratories' Role in Victory 


III. The Rockets' Red Glare 

Cooperation accounted for much of 
the difference between success and 
faikire in the late war. Practically 
all information was pooled to make 
it available where it could best be ap- 
plied; and tools, plants, and personnel 
were used for the best over-all good. 
It was in this spirit of cooperation 
that the Laboratories lent one of its 
engineers to the National Defense 
Research Committee. During the 
first World War, he had had some 
experience with the experimental de- 
velopment of rockets as military pro- 
jectiles. More than 20 years later, 
with the outbreak of the second 
World War, he suggested that rock- 
ets had a number of military applica- 
tions. By the end of July 1940, he 
had been sworn in as chief of a section 
of the National Defense Research 

Of the long series of rocket de- 
velopments carried on under this en- 
gineer's direction, the one to see ear- 
liest combat use was the 2.36-inch 
bazooka, which became known around 
the world because of its novelty and 
effectiveness — even against the giant 
German tiger tanks. 

To understand why the rocket is 
so useful a weapon under certain con- 
ditions, one must remember that a 
projectile weighing several pounds 
requires a considerable push to ac- 
celerate it to several hundred feet per 
second. When this push is exerted 
by a cannon, its recoil is heavy — and 
in proportion to the force of the pro- 
pelling change. A rocket, however, 
reacts against the mass of its own 
gases, and there is no appreciable re- 
coil. The launching tube is not sub- 

ject to high pressure, but merely 
serves as a guide, and thus can be 
light and inexpensive. 

Launching ^^by Telephone** 

One of the many applications of 
communication techniques to rocket 
problems was the fire-control mech- 
anisms developed for releasing rock- 
ets from multiple-tube launchers. The 
Army was working on an arrange- 
ment to launch 7.2-inch rockets from 
a large truck. An electrical firing cir- 

The "innards" of the fire-control unit 
of a multiple rocket launcher, showing 
the dial-type selector and other standard 
telephone apparatus (see photograph 
on page Z^). 


Bell Telephone Magazine 


cuit was needed to set off the rockets 
in succession under control of a se- 
lecting mechanism connected to the 
truck, by a long cable. The problem 
was to obtain a timed selecting ar- 
rangement that would discharge the 
rockets in as rapid succession as pos- 
sible without having them collide in 
the air or having the blast from one 
rocket affect the trajectory of the 
succeeding one. 

The Laboratories designed a fire- 
control arrangement around a dial 
telephone selector with an associated 
relay timing circuit that enabled the 
rockets to be discharged in succession 
as required. Within a week a model 
was in the hands of the Army, and 
the Western Electric Company was 
commissioned soon thereafter to build 
nearly a hundred of these devices for 
further field experiments. 

This first "ripple" fire-control 
mechanism attracted attention to sim- 
ilar problems on rocket launchers for 
tanks and other mobile mounts. On 
a rush basis, the Laboratories de- 
signed fire-control devices for tanks 
carrying 6o-tube launchers, for demo- 
lition tanks which threw twenty 7.2- 
inch missiles for breaking up heavy 
defenses, and for 8-tube launchers on 
truck and trailer mounts. All of 
these fire controls, built around tele- 
phone switches and relays, were found 
to provide greater reliability of firing 
than earlier designs, and Western 

Development of a ribbon frame camera, 
which takes pictures at a speed of from 
1/10,000 to 6/10,000 of a second, was an 
important contribution of the Labora- 
tories to rocket research. This series 
shows the launching of a rocket from an 


Bell Laboratories' Role in Victory 


Electric was placed under contract to 
build several hundred of each kind 
of launcher controls for equipment 
to be sent overseas. 

Spinning to the Target 

Rockets are ordinarily stabilized 
with fins, and if the propelling charge 
is completely burned before the rocket 
leaves the launching tube, the disper- 
sion, or deviation from the desired 
trajectory, is very small. If the pro- 
pelling charge burns after the rocket 
has left the launcher, however, the 
dispersion may be large unless there 
is perfect alignment of the nozzle 
and the center of gravity of the 
rocket. When this alignment is not 
perfect, the line of force of the burn- 
ing gas discharging through the 
nozzle does not pass through the 
center of gravity, and a tilting mo- 
ment is developed which causes the 
rocket to deviate more and more 
from its original direction of travel. 
Such conditions are common with very 
high speed rockets where the burning 
cannot be completed before the rocket 
leaves the launching tube. 

Spinning had been suggested to de- 
crease the dispersion under such con- 
ditions, but preliminary studies had 
indicated that a high spin would be 
required to bring about a worth-while 

To find out just how much spin 
was needed, a rocket launching tube 
was mounted in large ball bearings 

Here are three groups of exposures of 
the launching of a rocket from a sta- 
tionary structure, taken with a wide- 
angle Fastax camera, developed by the 
Laboratories during the war 


Bell Telephone Magazine 


A ROCKET starts its journey, its accuracy increased by the spin imparted in launching 

within an outer stationary tube at- 
tached to a tripod. Provisions were 
made for arming the assembly, and 
a motor was provided to rotate the 
launching tube at speeds of 900, 
1,800, and 2,700 rpm. 

With this arrangement, an exten- 
sive series of tests was carried out to 
determine the effect of spin on dis- 
persion. It was found that a con- 
siderable decrease in dispersion was 
obtained with very moderate spins, 
and that the speed was not critical — 
essentially the same improvement was 
obtained over a wide range. With- 
out spin, the dispersion for the stand- 
ardized rocket was 39 mils: that is, 
the rocket would deviate 39 feet in 
1000 feet of travel, while with spins 
of 800, 1,400 and 2,400 rpm the 
dispersion was reduced to 13, 11, and 
9 mils, respectively. 

The improvement in dispersion ob- 
tained in these and other tests re- 
sulted in intensive research programs 

both here and abroad to reduce dis- 
persions by giving the rocket, at the 
time of launching, a moderate spin. 

Other Projects 

Of many supplementary projects un- 
dertaken in connection with rocket 
research, two are particularly in- 

The use of copper balls instead of 
cylinders for measuring pressure in 
the explosion chambers of rockets 
and mortars not only proved of in- 
estimable value in ordnance studies, 
but brought savings several times 
greater than the total amount the 
Laboratories spent on all its rocket 
developments. Copper balls of the 
required diameter were obtained 
from ball-bearing manufacturers, but 
the work of annealing and calibrat- 
ing them was carried out by the Lab- 
oratories, not only during the devel- 
opment stages but on a production 


Bel! Laboratories' Role in Victory 


basis until nearly the end of the war. 

One of the important tools used 
in most of the studies of rockets was 
a high-speed "ribbon frame" camera, 
especially developed to obtain knowl- 
edge of the behavior of rockets dur- 
ing the early part of their flight. 

It was by the use of special ap- 
paratus and tools of this sort, and 
through an intensive application of 
native genius, that American jet pro- 
pulsion, which was almost non-exist- 
ent at the beginning of the war, be- 
came one of the important factors in 
our final victory. 

The war developments here re- 
counted are only a few of those actu- 
ally carried out. The original design 
and development were undertaken by 
the Bell Laboratories, and manufac- 
turing was done for the most part by 
the Western Electric Company. But 
every branch of the Bell System made 
its contribution of trained personnel: 
either on loan directly to the Labora- 
tories, or on military leave with those 
branches of the Armed Forces which 
installed and maintained all sorts of 
communications equipment under all 
conditions and all over the world. 

Field Engineers of the Bell System s Manufacturing Arm 

Accompanied Our Army and Navy in All Theaters to 

Help Keep Electronic Devices at Peak Performance 

Western Electric Experts 
With the Armed Forces 


/. Stedman IVard 

Out on Midway Island early in 
1945 a Navy radar technician aboard 
a U. S. submarine reported hav- 
ing had a brush with a trouble-maker 
named "Little Joe." He didn't say 
a word about it to the Intelligence 
Officer, or to the Shore Patrol either; 
they wouldn't have been interested. 
Trouble of this kind was in the prov- 
ince of a fellow who wasn't really in 
the Navy at all; yet he was certainly 
0/ the Navy, for the Bureau of Ships 
had requested that he come to Mid- 
way, required that he wear a Navy 
uniform, and arranged that he be ac- 
corded all the privileges of a naval 

The man to whom the "Little Joe" 
trouble was reported was a Western 
Electric field engineer. 

The field engineer had seen Joe, 
under one guise or another, often 
enough in the past, and knew him for 
an old and troublesome offender. 
Joe was, in fact, a false echo, a little 

man who wasn't there. For every 
once in a while the oscilloscope screen 
of a radar equipment would indicate 
the presence of an object at short 
range when, in sober truth, the seas 
were clear for miles around. 

There were four or five standard 
possible explanations for Joe's pres- 
ence. None of them fitted this par- 
ticular case at Midway. Then the 
engineer remembered an item in a 
recent number of the weekly Tech- 
nical Newsletter sent to him by the 
Field Engineering Force headquar- 
ters in New York. He checked back, 
found that one of his five-hundred- 
odd far-flung colleagues had scotched 
"Little Joe" on the same equipment 
by the use of an FE-1088 Oscillator. 
Within a short hour Joe had left 

Joe had not always been viewed 
with such nonchalance, nor had he 
always been so easy to eliminate. In 
the early years of the war, he had 

Western Electric Experts with the Armed Forces 


been a real menace, 
were teeming with 

When the seas 
Japs and Ger- 
mans, it was disconcerting, to say the 
least, to have such a will-o'-the-wisp 
target bob up every so often. It is 
even possible that an occasional tor- 
pedo was fired at Little Joe. In any 
case, Joe, in concert with a number of 
his brother gremlins, threatened to 
undermine the confidence of Navy 

police radio engineer, school him in 
the new science of radar, send him to 
the Norfolk Navy Yard for months 
of additional training and experience, 
and then ship him out to Midway 
among the submarines and the gooney 

In the five days immediately fol- 
lowing that fateful Sunday morning 
of late 1941 at Pearl Harbor, one of 

A Western Electric field engineer on duty in the Pacific changes from one warship 
to another by breeches buoy to answer a call for expert radar assistance 

crews in the radar equipment which 
had so recently been given them. 

Joe's departure was important, and 
the fact that it was a hurried depar- 
ture was even more important; but 
the incident hardly provides more 
than a hint of the reason for the field 
engineer being with the military serv- 
ices. In itself, it cannot explain why 
the Navy requested Western Elec- 
tric to hire this young man, a former 

the first Western Electric field engi- 
neers, a former ERPI * man, worked 
85 hours repairing damaged radar 
and making new installations. 

In October and November of 1945, 
a field engineer accompanied the 7th 

* ERPI, signifying Electrical Research Prod- 
ucts, Inc., a former subsidiary of Western Elec- 
tric Company which introduced and distributed 
Western Electric sound motion picture equip- 


Bell Telephone Magazine 


Amphibious Corps of the Marines 
as these troops occupied Northern 
China to accept the surrender of the 
Japanese for Generalissimo Chiang 
Kai-shek. In the engineer's words, 
it was "more of a social call than an 
occupation," but the Marines wanted 
him there as a source of information 
on their radar equipment. 

strong Headquarters staff of tech- 
nical and clerical people in New York. 
Why this growth, and what did the 
field engineers do at home and in 
strange lands around the world? It 
is an interesting and, for industry, a 
rather exceptional tale. The Bell 
System had a major share in trans- 
lating radar from a scientific concept 

A MEMBER of the 
F. E. F., somewhere 
in the Pacific, goes 
aloft to get something 
done. Radar didn't 
work by decree; it 
sometimes took a lot 
of doing 

Between these two assignments, so 
significant in their contrast, lies the 
growth of the Field Engineering 
Force from a group of twelve engi- 
neers, recruited in 1941, to an or- 
ganization of more than five hundred 
field engineers by V-J day, serving 
our armed forces and our allies on 
five continents and backed up by a 

to an accomplished fact.* Here, 
now, is the evidence that the System 
also accepted a share of the responsi- 
bility for putting this fact across to 
the enemy. 

The main job of the field engineer 
was to bring about the best possible 

* See "Radar," Magazine, Winter 1945-46. 


Western Electric Experts with the Armed Forces 


standards of radar operation in the 
field. He helped to translate Bell 
System quality of design and manu- 
facture into high quality field per- 
formance. This meant the instruc- 
tion of oflScers and enlisted men in 
the techniques of proper installation, 
adjustment, maintenance, and opera- 
tion of radar and, for that matter, 

tems and other electronic equipment 
to incorporate improvements meeting 
the always advancing technical and 
operational requirements. This ob- 
jective involved extensive cooperation 
with Bell Telephone Laboratories. 

Not infrequently, it was the very 
fact of the engineer's civilian status, 
his easy mobility in terms of ofl^icial 

Specialists in the high- 
altitude bombing radar 
equipment carried by 
the B-29S. These six 
field engineers, pictured 
somewhere in the China- 
Burma-India Theater, 
were commended by 
Major General Curtis 
LeMay for their contri- 
bution to the success of 
the missions of the 20th 
Air Force over Japan 

sonar, other special electronic de- 
vices, and communication systems de- 
veloped by Bell Laboratories and 
produced by Western for the Army 
and Navy. 

The insistence upon a high stand- 
ard of performance meant frequent 
need for on-the-scene field modifica- 
tions and readjustment of radar sys- 

channels, which made him invaluable. 
He was able to go directly and im- 
mediately to the proper level of com- 
mand to present suggestions and get 
the approvals necessary for action. 

The field engineer functioned also 
as a coordinator and expediter. He 
established a reliable and close tech- 
nical liaison with the designers and 


Bell Telephone Magazine 


factories of his company at home. 
His presence throughout the armed 
services proved a considerable factor 
in building up confidence in radar and 
other new electronic devices for com- 

It is not an easy thing to sum- 
marize the activities of even one of 
these men. Their work was as varied 

as the use of radar itself — which, as 
we know, was employed for scores of 
purposes, from area bombing of the 
enemy home-land to zenith search 
against kamikazes. But actions speak 
louder than definitions: the pattern 
of their contribution should emerge 
from the retelling of several charac- 
teristic incidents. 

Field Engineers in the Field 

Field Engineering Force 
"branches" served the various 
armed forces thus — 

Bureau of Ships branch — cov- 
ered seaborne radar, sonar, and 
special radio communications for 
the United States Fleet and the 
Marine Corps. 

Bureau of Aeronautics (USN) 
branch — first for airborne ra- 
dar and later for electronic flight 

Bureau of Ordnance (USN) 
branch — for radar controlled 
airborne missiles and later for 
fire-control radar. 

Army Air Forces branch — for 
airborne radar. 

Army Ground Forces branch — 
for ground-based radar and wire 
and radio communications . 

Office of Scientific Research and 
Development — for various ra- 
dars and special equipment. 

Engineers trained and assigned 
to the work of one branch ordi- 
narily specialized in its activi- 
ties and remained within its 

During the early years of the war, 
aircraft crews were at first inclined to 
question the value of radar — which, 
because of added weight, meant less 
fuel supply and lower speed. A field 
engineer — a man of 17 years' service 
with the Illinois Bell Telephone Com- 
pany — helped to demonstrate what 
radar, understood and rightly used, 
could do. 

This man spent several months in 
1942 and '43 with the B-24 Squad- 
rons' crews of the 480th Air Forces 
Group, coaching them in their use of 
radar against submarines. Careful 
instruction and painstaking trials 
both in this country and in England 
had brought no results over the 
North Atlantic; but by the time the 
squadrons were transferred to the 
Mediterranean, things were looking 
up. In the latter area, during the 
first two weeks of July 1943, those 
squadrons sank 13 Axis submarines 
— a not inconsiderable contribution 
to the freedom of the seas. Of those 
13, nine were spotted and the bombs 
sent away through the use of radar 

That proof of the usefulness of 
radar in airplanes was matched by 
another field engineer's demonstra- 


Western Electric Experts with the Armed Forces 


tion of its value against airplanes. 
This man, attached to the io8th 
A.A.A. Battalion, whose gun direc- 
tors were controlled by SCR-545A 
radar equipment, spent long and dan- 
gerous hours at Anzio. He helped 
these artillerymen to locate their 
equipment to best advantage and 
taught them how to track their tar- 
gets steadfastly through the enemy 
jamming and "window" (tinfoil 
dropped by enemy planes as they ap- 
proached). The io8th, which was 
the first anti-aircraft battalion to be 
so fitted out, shot down seven enemy 
planes during their initial radar night 

action, firing with an effectiveness 
2^ times greater than the other two 
Anzio battalions together. 

A colleague in Italy, assigned to 
the 1 2th Air Force, briefed the radar 
oflicers, navigators, and pilots of the 
C-47 planes which carried paratroop- 
ers from the Galleria Air Field, near 
Rome, in the August 1944 invasion 
of southern France. The drop zones, 
although completely covered by over- 
cast, were discernible to skillful 
radar interpretation. The troops 
landed just two minutes behind 

In 1944 and '45, field engineers 

In foreign theaters the engineers wore the uniform of the Service to which they 
were assigned. The four members of the F. E. F. pictured above were with (left 
to right) the Army Ground Forces, the Army Air Forces, the Marine Corps, and 

the Navy 


Bell Telephone Magazine 


In his capacious black bag (center), the field engineer carried his specialized tools 
and instruments, his Company papers, and as many of the equipment bulletins ! 
(rear) as applied to the equipment with which he was concerned 

worked with the British branch of 
the M. I. T. Radiation Laboratory, 
in England and on the Continent, on 
problems connected with radars for 
fast night fighter planes. Some of 
these men, making their observations 
and tests right up where the shooting 
war was happening, discovered an im- 
portant fact: the planes they were 
using were so fast that in the dark of 
night they whizzed right over slow- 
flying German supply planes almost 
before their own planes' radars had 
indicated the enemy's presence. So 
an engineer devised an answer to 
that one, involving the use of micro- 
wave early-warning radars. There- 
after the night-time deliveries of 
German supplies by that method 

In Alaska, field engineers were as- 

sisting the cold-weather program of 
tests on Air Forces' radar equipment 
at the same time that another engi- 
neer, a former Michigan Bell Tele- 
phone Company man, was sweating it 
out in Brazil, learning Portuguese 
and helping the Brazilian Navy with 
the installation and operation of ship- 
borne radar equipment. Between 
these extremes of North and South 
in the Western Hemisphere, many 
field engineers saw service at numer- 
ous locations outside the continental 
United States, including the Canal 

One of the first field engineers to 
go abroad won't forget the time he 
inspected and checked the radar 
aboard the submarine Peto as she 
rode the seas in the Pacific 40 miles 
off the Zone. He was taken out to 


Western Electric Experts with the Armed Forces 


Best available statistics indicate 
that JVestern Electric engineers 
travelled collectively 11,200,000 
miles at least in their globe- 
girdling operations. They 
worked 2,200,000 man-hours, 
and filled 138,000 assignments. 

meet her in a PC boat and — the last 
half mile — in a native dugout canoe ! 

This same engineer, while sta- 
tioned in the Zone, witnessed the 
growing confidence Navy men dis- 
played in their radar equipment as 
more and more ships followed one 
another through the Canal in 1942 
and 1943 enroute to the fighting 
fronts. In contrast to the skepticism 
displayed by many Navy crews han- 
dling the earlier radar installations, 
all concerned with it were by then 
showing the greatest interest in de- 
veloping high eflUciency in the opera- 
tion of their equipment. 

The advantages of radar, demon- 
strated in battles won and very effec- 
tively circulated via the reliable scut- 
tlebut route, brought about this re- 
spect, and created the desire on the 
part of personnel manning fighting 
vessels to utilize the equipment to its 
utmost capacity. 

I In the Pacific, the center of naval 
I activities was of course Pearl Har- 
I bor, where eventually two-score and 
I more Western Electric engineers in 
I Navy uniforms handled radar, sonar, 
I and other electronics problems 
[brought in by a steady stream of 
i ships from all parts of the Pacific. 
' But Pearl Harbor served another 
I function too. It was the jumping off 
! place for field engineers heading 

south to Australia, north to Okinawa, 
and all stops in between: New Cale- 
donia, Espiritu Santo, Guadalcanal, 
Munda, Kolombangara, Bougainville, 
New Georgia, Manus, Ulithl, Eni- 
wetok, Kwajalein, Funafuti, Majuro, 
Palau, and others. 

Engineers were stationed ashore 
at bases; they lived afloat on tenders, 
repair vessels, and flagships; and they 
rode combat ships of all types, travel- 
ing hither and yon — wherever the 
need for their services might take 
them. More than once they wit- 
nessed engagements at sea, and shore 
bombardments in preparation for 
landing operations; and they some- 
times went ashore with attacking 

At Ulithi lagoon another engineer, 
on loan from the Illinois Bell Tele- 
phone Company, worked back-break- 
ing hours checking and tuning radars 
among the 624 ships gathered there 
in preparation for the Okinawa in- 
vasion. He was so busy that the 
Navy asked him not to answer a re- 
quest for assistance unless it was re- 

A succession of field engineers as- 
signed to the 7th Fleet Submarine 
Base at Freemantle, Australia, set 
up a model system and routine for 

In addition to conventional atito- 
jnobiles, railroads, surface ships, 
and aircraft, field engineers rode 
in or on jeeps, command cars, 
motorcycles, tractors, tanks, 
landing craft of all kinds, native 
canoes, amphibious "ducks," 
submarines, rickshas, catapult 
planes, gliders — and probably 
other vehicles not yet reported. 


Bell Telephone Magazine 


checking, servicing, and tuning the 
radars of the big "pig boats." One 
of these engineers was flown to 
Milne Bay, New Guinea, where he 
worked eighteen hours a day for five 
days on the radar gear of ships des- 
tined to take part in the Arawe in- 
vasion. When he finished, he him- 
self sailed aboard one of them — the 
destroyer Flusser, which covered 
the operation and bombarded enemy 
installations ashore. 

Western Electric was one of 
eight companies manufacturing 
radar and other electronic ap- 
paratus whose field engineers 
accompanied the Armed Forces. 
Most of these specialists served 
with the fleet, and Western Elec- 
tric supplied the largest single 
group: J25 out of 1,300. While 
each engineer was on hand pri- 
marily to look out for the equip- 
ment made by his own company, 
many a helping hand disregarded 
that technicality on occasion, and 
in an emergency there was no 
thought of distinguishing among 
different companies' products 

Field engineers working with the 
Army Air Forces in the Pacific area, 
by their advisory engineering assist- 
ance on radar equipment and prob- 
lems relating to its use, contributed 
heavily to the success of our bombing 
of enemy ships and cities. 

Perhaps one of the most impres- 
sive evidences of their success in this 
line was provided by two engineers 
who accompanied a B-24 Squadron to 
Guadalcanal in mid-1943. This 
squadron was the first to be equipped 

with a radar bombsight designed in 
a big hurry for low altitude bombing 
at night. The bombsight was so 
new that half of the available equip- 
ments were pre-production models, 
and one of the field engineers was 
borrowed from the Bell Laboratories 
group which had developed the equip- 
ment. The planes went to work and 
sank everything not in sight — even 

The telegram from General H. H. 
Arnold, Commanding General of the 
Army Air Forces, to C. G. Stoll, 
president of the Western Electric 
Company, commenting on the out- 
come of these operations, said in 


These two were followed in 1944 
by many other field engineers who 
worked with the China and India- 
based B-24 Squadrons, and with the 
big new B-29S of the XX Bomber 
Command in the China-Burma-India 
theatre and of the XXI Bomber 
Command in the Mariannas on Sai- 
pan, Tinian and Guam. Of these 
men, and of many other Western 
Electric field engineers doing similar 
work, Major-General O. P. Echols 
wrote to President Stoll, "The Army 


Western Electric Experts with the Armed Forces 


Air Forces regard these men as an 
indispensable element in the Ail- 
American team of fliers." 


the field engineer at work would be 
by montage movie photography. 

improve training for jungle combat. 
A field engineer on board the bat- 
tleship Indiana at an advance base 
in the Pacific teamed up with the 
ship's boatswain and, by working out 
an ingenious rigging system for re- 
placing a faulty Mark 8 antenna 

It served over Bikini, A Western Electric field engineer is 

making final adjustments on the radar "scope" camera aboard 

a B-29 which took part in the atomic-bomb test on June 30 

While one field engineer was im- 
proving the pressurizing system of 
high-altitude bombing radar equip- 
ment in India, another was on leave 
with a National Defense Research 
Committee project down in Panama 
recording authentic jungle sounds to 

which weighed about one ton and was 
mounted high up on its upper works, 
they saved the ship a long trip to an 
Australian port. Incidentally, their 
success won $10,000 for their sup- 
porters among the crew, who had 
wagered enthusiastically on whether 


Bell Telephone Magazine 


such an exchange could be effected 
without resort to the large navy-yard 
cranes customarily used for such a 
heavy job. 

At about the same time, one of this 
engineer's colleagues, in association 
with naval personnel, conceived a re- 
arrangement of one of the fire con- 
trol radar systems which greatly im- 
proved distribution of the target in- 
formation for gunnery purposes. 

One field engineer, under front- 
line conditions on Okinawa, used a 
piece of gas mask hose to conduct 
warm air from the magnetron of a 
search radar equipment to the trans- 
mission line, in which moisture con- 

All the subject-matter worked 
on by the F. E. F. represented 
military secrets, most of them 
highly classified. The field en- 
gineer carried a constant burden 
of knowledge of great value to 
the enemy, which it was his duty 
to protect unremittingly. 

tackled 56 such jobs in their first 72 
hours on Okinawa. 

In late 1944, two field engineers 
accompanied the first radio-link com- 
munication equipment sent to France. 

This very-high-frequency apparatus, 

densation had been causing arcing basically the same sort of equipment 

trouble. as that recently placed in service on 

Two other field engineers on that the West Coast to connect with Cata- 

disputed island were assigned to work lina and now being installed between 

with one of the Navy's most super- 
secret weapons, the radar controlled 
flying bomb, known as the Bat. In 
the words of a rear admiral, they 
showed a "willingness to tackle all 
jobs on all types and models of elec- 
tronic equipment." They actually 

Letters of commendation and 
appreciation numbering several 
hundred have reached the West- 
ern Electric Company, during 
the war and since, from many 
Commands, expressing their sat- 
isfaction with and congratula- 
tions upon the efforts of West- 
ern Electric field engineers as- 
signed to assist them. Included 
are commendations from the 
Royal Navy, the Royal Air 
Force, the British Air Commis- 
sion, and the Office of Scientific 
Research and Development. 

the Massachusetts mainland and 
Nantucket Island, was used for com- 
munication between the 12th Army 
Group Headquarters and the 15th 
Army in Europe. 

One of the cardinal points about 
radar was that it didn't work by de- 
cree. It took a lot of doing. When 
asked what he considered his assign- 
ment to mean, the Western Electric 
field engineer usually replied, "to go 
out there and make the radar work." 
He was by no means alone in this ef- 
fort; but it is acknowledged that he 
was instrumental in creating faith in 
this new, versatile, and critically in- 
dispensable equipment. M 
These men did not get back home | 
without having heard some angry 
shooting and having undergone a few 
hardships. "Hardships" is a calcu- 
lated understatemeryt for air raids, 
buzz bombings, mortar fire, sniping, 
torpedoes, plane crashes, bad food, 


Western Electric Experts with the Armed Forces 


and spider bites — not to mention oc- 
casional climatic inroads on health. 

One field engineer (from the 
Michigan Bell company) logged 
193,775 miles in the course of a scant 
year on a Navy assignment. He 
covered 6,000 miles by submarine and 
spent 816 hours in air travel. Dur- 
ing his first 24 hours on an island 
naval base, he led a rather precarious 
existence: i). The plane in which he 
arrived made a belly landing. 2). 
He then was assigned to a vessel 
scheduled to sail that afternoon, but 
was prevented from boarding her by 
the merest chance — and she was never 
heard from again. 3 ) . That night he 
left his tent two minutes ahead of the 
bomb that demolished it. 

Three Western Electric field engi- 
neers lost their lives in the line of 
duty — all in accidents involving air- 
planes. The first death, at Marietta, 
Georgia, in late 1943, occurred dur- 
ing the initial tests, in one of the first 
B-29 airplanes, of the high altitude 
bombing type radar which was to be 
used in China-based raids against Ja- 

pan. The second engineer to lose his 
life died in September of 1944 with 
eight others aboard a B-24 plane that 
crashed as it came in to land at Ala- 
mogordo, New Mexico. Early in 
1945 another field engineer was killed 
in the crash of a transport plane 
which had just taken off from Aus- 
tralia enroute to a Philippine port, 
where he was to supervise the in- 
stallation of a new radar system in 

Most field engineers were inclined, 
none-the-less, to take a rather light- 
hearted view of the hazards of their 
profession. Indeed some of these 
hazards had their comedy aspects — 
at least in retrospect. One man will 
always remember the predicament of 
an Army nurse who stepped off a 
transport plane at Bougainville just 
as the Japs began to bomb the air- 
field. The nurse and the field engi- 
neer by chance made for the same fox 
hole, where their number was in- 
creased seconds later by six husky and 
very naked Marines who had been in 

Recruiting and Training the F.E.F. 

It was not an easy task during the 
war years to find more than 600 engi- 
neers (counting a small turnover) 
who were willing and able to under- 
take this potentially dangerous but vi- 
tal work. They had to be mature yet 
rugged and in A-i health. They had 
to have technical skill and an imagi- 
native engineering attitude. They 
not only had to satisfy the exacting 
employment requirements of Western 
Electric but to undergo a searching 
security investigation by the Army 

and Navy. It was necessary that 
they be adaptable in high degree yet 
thoroughly stable. Moreover, they 
could not be rough diamonds; the job 
called for men who were articulate 
and agreeable. On the whole, be- 
coming a field engineer was hardly a 
matter of following the line of least 
resistance for these men, most of 
them family heads in their 30s and 
early 40s. 

Into this rather high-voltage oc- 
cupation came 132 men directly from 


Bell Telephone Magazine 


within the Bell System — 22 per cent 
of the total group. Only the radio 
industry contributed a slightly larger 
number. There were, of course, men 
from the Bell Laboratories, from 
Long Lines, and from various parts 
of the Western itself; but the bulk 
of the Bell people came from 15 as- 
sociated telephone companies. 

The Bell System could not begin 
to supply the full requirements, 
however. The burden of this man- 
hunting job fell upon the "Bird-Dog" 
Department, as the Force's person- 
nel organization became popularly 
known. Led by a former general 
plant employment supervisor of a 
mid-west telephone company who had 

At the Whippany radio laboratory of Bell Laboratories, where Western Electric 
maintained one section of its F. E, F. training schools, a student engineer works 

with the antenna of a Naval radar 

Some companies were better able 
than others to spare their valuable 
engineers and specialists during the 
manpower shortage. All of them, 
however, were glad to cooperate in 
every way possible with the Field En- 
ginering Force search for additional 
field engineers to meet the increasing 
demands of the Army and Navy. 

himself been a field engineer, a group 
of ten former field engineers spent 
their time hunting out prospects in 
every section of the United States for 
the expansion of the Force. They 
found their recruits in 39 states, and 
even a handful from Canada and the 
British West Indies. 

The roster saw virtually every 


Western Electric Experts with the Armed Forces 


major American technical school, col- 
lege and university represented in the 
membership. Naturally, electrical 
engineering degrees predominated al- 
though several other scientific degrees 
were to be found, including a number 
of Ph.Ds. 

A MAJOR contribution to the de- 

its theaters, provided a useful back- 
ground. Several top supervisory 
positions were occupied by former 
ERPI men, all of whom had joined 
the Field Engineering Force in its 
early days. Still another pertinent 
and valuable asset was the experience, 
gained over many years, of the field 
engineering group maintained by Bell 

An F. E. F. instructor (left center) at the Whippany training school lectures on the 
features of the train and hoist mechanism to his class of sonar specialists 

velopment and management of the 
Force arose out of the experience of 
Electrical Research Products, Incor- 
porated, in the sound motion picture 
equipment business, commencing in 
1927. ERPFs extensive operating 
experience in the installation and serv- 
icing of sound equipment, in both the 
nation's picture-making studios and 

Telephone Laboratories for the as- 
sistance of the broadcasting industry 
in the installation and use of Western 
Electric radio transmitters. 

Every Western field engineer has 
in his possession a certificate which 
testifies that he has received some 
four to eight or more weeks of in- 
tensified F.E.F. training in the theory 


Bell Telephone Magazine 


Western Electric's field engi- 
neers were selected through na- 
tionwide recruiting from more 
than 200 vocations. To employ 
606 engineers, 4,515 men were 
interviewed out of 14,100 con- 
sidered in all. The cumulative 
growth was: 

ig4i 18 

J942 134 

1943 289 

1944 486 

1 945 {to V-J Day) . . 606 

and operation of shipborne, airborne, 
or ground radar systems. 

The Company's Radar Training 
School was the first step for every 
new field engineer. In 1941 and 
early 1942, it was conducted by Bell 
Laboratories engineers; but soon the 
fast-growing equipment development 
program took all of their time and 
the school passed to Field Engineer- 
ing Force supervision and instructors, 
even though continuing to use space 
and facilities at Laboratories loca- 
tions. The first Field Force head of 
the school was a university professor 
who, in 1942, had interrupted a lec- 
ture tour in upstate New York in 
order to become a field engineer. 

Most engineers came back periodi- 
cally to the Schools of the Force for 
refresher courses, advanced courses, 
or courses on new equipment, and al- 
ways after service in foreign theaters. 
Their training really never stopped, 
however, as they carried on their jobs 
in the domestic Navy Yards and at 
Army Airfields. 

Here they wore no uniforms and 

had few thrilling adventures — unless 
it can be called "thrilling" to have a 
worker paint your hair with a spray 
gun or another burn the soles of your 
feet with an acetylene torch from the 
deck below. Here was a solid, if un- 
spectacular, contribution of the Field 
Engineering Force in some 20 naval 
establishments from Casco Bay in 
Maine right around the coast line to 
Puget Sound in Washington, as well 
as at numerous fields of the Army 
and Navy Air Forces, airplane fac- 
tories, and AAF modification centers 
throughout the United States. While 
these were the principal military ac- 
tivities served in volume, the Force 
also assisted several other branches 
of the Army and Navy and O.S.R.D. 

It was not always so unspectacular, 
either. Our Navy needed its ships 
on the firing line; the "availability" 
of a ship was often cruelly short. 

There was the case of the battle- 
ship Massachusetts, which arrived 
in Boston to prepare, as it later de- 
veloped, for the bombardment at 
Casablanca. She wanted two fire 
control equipments replaced with 
radar of a later and improved design. 
But since she was under 12-hour sail- 
ing orders, no work could be started 
that might take longer than that to 
complete. Ordinarily, it took several 
days to complete a single installation 
of the new fire control equipment. 
The captain decided to replace, if 
possible, at least one of his old equip- 
ments. When this job, in the opin- 
ion of the Western Electric field en- 
gineer, was within 12 hours of com- 
pletion (this point came at 2 a.m.), 
the captain gave orders to start the 
dismantling of the second outmoded 
equipment. Had the field engineer 

Western Electric Experts with the Armed Forces 


Future field engineers at a Western Electric radar training school in New York. 
The men shown here were studying Navy fire-control radar equipment 

been wrong in his estimate of the time 
needed to complete the first new in- 
stallation, and had the battleship then 
received her sailing orders, she would 
have had to sail for Casablanca with 
no radar fire control. 

P.S. : It took 10 hours to finish the 
first installation — and the Massa- 
chusetts had her second new equip- 
ment operating, too, before she sailed. 

The "bible" of the field engineer 
working far from his company head- 
quarters, and possibly far even from 
any brother engineers, was his collec- 
tion of engineering notes or "Equip- 
ment Bulletins." Because of the di- 
versified and difficult nature of his 
responsibilities, the field engineer re- 
lied on their comprehensive coverage, 
in concise, accurate terms, of a great 
variety of apparatus, systems, and 

Containing circuit and assembly 
drawings as well as illustrations de- 

scribing 67 different equipments and 
systems, they form a complete refer- 
ence in miniature to the apparatus 
and its proper operation and mainte- 
nance, prepared with a special regard 
for the particular needs of the engi- 
neer in the field. 

Throughout the war, these bulle- 
tins were kept up-to-the-minute, re- 
flecting all changes and modifications 
in existing equipments immediately 
and keeping abreast of the initial ap- 
pearances of new equipment and sys- 
tems as they were introduced. 

By early 1945, there were nearly 
30 experienced field engineers as- 
signed to the writing, editing, and 

More than half of the working 
time of the Western Electric 
field engineers was occupied in 
the instruction of Armed Forces 
personnel detailed to radar duty. 


Bell Telephone Magazine 



Standing in front of the jeep is one of the i8 Bell System engineers who worked on 
military communications in the European Theater as members of the Western 

Electric field engineering force 

modifying of the technical bulletins 
and miscellaneous manuals which field 
engineers and Service personnel alike 
found invaluable in their work. Em- 
bracing 20,500 pages of a special 
small size compiled into neatly bound 
loose-leaf volumes, each from two to 
three inches thick, more than a score 
of these have been published for the 
guidance of the Field Engineering 
Force. Perhaps in no other respect 
was the experience of ERPI so strik- 
ingly apparent as in the conception 
and preparation of these bulletins, 
which served at once as authoritative 
instruction manuals and as reference 

Somewhere between the glamour 
and diversity of the overseas field en- 
gineering assignment and the steady 
basic work in domestic locations come 

the activities of the field test group. 

The group was organized in 1942, 
at the suggestion of the Bell Labora- 
tories. There were naturally some 
"bugs" in new radar systems which 
could not be anticipated in the design 
stages and which could be eliminated 
only by actual field testing. For this 
work, several of the most experienced 
field engineers were organized into a 
field test group; by 1945, 17 men 
were engaged in this work. 

This story of a typical field test 
contribution should also provide a 
valid and accurate picture of what 
field engineering was all about: — 

In February of 1944, one of these 
field engineers went down to Dam 
Neck, Virginia, to the Bureau of 
Ordnance Antl-Aircraft Training and 
Test Center. He was to participate 
in various tests Involving new West- 


Western Electric Experts with the Armed Forces 


ern Electric radar equipment for anti- 
aircraft fire control. The assignment 
was the beginning of an interesting 
chain of events. 

To the operator of such a piece of 
radar equipment, the target plane ap- 
peared as a small bright dot on the 
fluorescent screen of the oscilloscope. 
His job was to keep the cross-hairs of 
the gun sight centered on that dot; in 
this position the gun should be prop- 
erly trained on the target. And this 
was so when the plane was coming in 
directly towards the battery. How- 
ever, when the plane turned and flew 
to one side or the other there was a 
somewhat irregular and disturbing 
phenomenon. The little dot on the 
screen was a fraction of a second slow 
to react and to simulate the plane's 
movement, and it never did catch up. 
The dot floated across the screen in 
a position actually some distance be- 
hind the real position of the plane. 
Thus, when the operator kept his 
cross-hairs on the dot, he still was 
not actually "on target." 

This trouble was caused, it turned 
out, by a rather lengthy "time con- 
stant" — the steady interval of time 
which elapsed between the reception 
of a radar "echo" from the target 
and the conversion of this tiny pulse 
of energy into a visual signal. Radar 
energy travels with the speed of 
light — but to throw a meaningful sig- 
nal on a fluorescent screen takes just 
a bit more time than that. 

The field test man was able to sug- 
gest circuit changes on the spot — 
changes which reduced the "time con- 
stant" to only one-fifth of its former 
infinitesimal split-second length and 
brought the radar signal and the ac- 
tual target virtually into conjunction. 
This circuit modification was then re- 

ported to the Bell Laboratories engi- 
neers, who incorporated it in their 
design for all subsequent radars of 
this type. 

After conferences at New York, 
the engineer proceeded to Haw- 
thorne to observe the first of these 
equipments in their final acceptance 
tests. From Hawthorne, he accom- 
panied the first five systems to the 
Navy Yard at Mare Island, Cali- 
fornia, where he supervised their in- 
stallation aboard four destroyers and 
a heavy cruiser. He then prepared a 
lengthy installation report which was 
submitted to Bell Laboratories and to 
Navy Ordnance Planning. 

Now came two weeks of maneu- 
vers and tests aboard the destroyer 
Mahan. The field engineer assisted 
the Fire Control Officers in training 
their personnel on this new system. 
He assisted them to such good effect 
that the radar fire-control perform- 
ance of the ship improved by 67 per- 
cent in this period, to the obvious 
satisfaction of the Squadron Com- 
mander and the ComDesPac Gun- 
nery Officer, who were acting as ob- 

A later report from the Mahan 
stated that in 1,547 hours of radar 
operation, zero hours were lost due 
to failures. 

The saga of the part the F.E.F. 
played in the rehabilitation of tele- 
phone communications in France, Bel- 
gium and Germany from the time of 
the Normandy beachhead until well 
after V-E day — that is a field engi- 
neering contribution which cannot 
adequately be reported here. The 
eighteen engineers engaged in this 
program, most of them on loan from 
Bell Laboratories or from associated 


Bell Telephone Magazine 

telephone companies, exhibited cour- 
age and resourcefulness of high order 
in cutting over damaged and dis- 
rupted enemy communications to the 
uses of the Allied forces. Not the 
least remarkable part of their ac- 
complishment was their coordination 
of American, English, French, and 
German telephone and carrier equip- 
ment into smoothly functioning sys- 

The End of the Story 

With the arrival of V-J Day, 
some of the contractual services per- 
formed by the Field Engineering 
Force for the Army and Navy were 
terminated immediately. Right up 
until the week preceding total victory, 
Western Electric had been hiring and 
training field engineers to meet the 
ever-expanding demands from the 
armed forces. Then came the sud- 
den reversal of direction and the 
necessity for reducing the enrollment 
drastically. Since then, the remain- 
ing activities have been tapered down 
to a small fraction of the going rate 
at the war's end — enough only upon 
a temporary basis to facilitate an 
orderly transition to peacetime opera- 

One field engineer, a veteran of 
two overseas assignments with the 
American Air Forces, left on his 
third not long ago — this time to the 
Bikini Islands for radar work with 
the bombers on Operation Cross- 

Three others from the Bureau of 

Ships branch, all specialists on naval 
fire-control radar, likewise were mem- 
bers of the joint Army and Navy task 
force which conducted the atom bomb 

Several of the former field engi- 
neers have transferred to other parts 
of the Western Electric Company, to 
the Bell Laboratories, or to Associ- 
ated Companies, and are applying 
their war-won knowledge toward the 
achievement of peacetime projects, 
such as mobile telephone service, 
point-to-point communication, and 
various other pursuits. 

But most of the Field Engineering 
Force technical staff have gone back 
to their families and friends in their 
home states and the occupations, gen- 
erally speaking, from which they 
came. The telephone men have re- 
turned, with few exceptions, to their 
companies. The radio men have 
gone back to radio — some of them as 
chief broadcast engineers. The teach- 
ers have gone back to teach — with a 
lot of valuable practical experience to 
bolster their theory. A number of 
men have started their own engineer- 
ing, radio, or other businesses. 

Despite this scatteringto the winds, 
these field engineers still feel the 
pride and satisfaction which was 
theirs as members of this effective 
Bell System war-time organization. 
They feel that, during the war, they 
made the contribution most in line 
with their training and abilities, and 
that their hard work and varied expe- 
riences will enable them to play fuller 
roles in American life and industry. 

me AAV ^^i\umoer iwo 

oummer ig^( 


Putting Disabled Veterans Back to Work • Lawrence L. Armantrout 

Twenty Years of 'Talking Movies': an Anniversary 
Frank H. Lovette and Stanley Watkins 

Command Circuits • Eldon Nichols 

Bell Laboratories' Role in Victory — Part II 


Bell Tele|)Jione/k«g^ 

Summer 1946 

Putting Disabled Veterans Back to Work, Lawrence L. Armantrout, 77 

Twenty Years of 'Talking Movies' : an Anniversary, Frank H. Lovette 

and Stanley JFatkins, 82 

Command Circuits, Eldon Nichols, loi 

Bell Laboratories' Role in Victory — Part II, 116 

" The ideal and aim of the A 7n eric an Telephone arid TelegraphCompany and its Associated 
Companies is a telephone service for the nation, free, so far as humanly possible, from 
imperfections, errors, or delays^ and enabling anyone anywhere to pick up a telephone 
and talk to anyone else anywhere else, clearly, quickly and at a reasonable cost.'' 

A Medium of Suggestion ^ a Record of Progress 

Published for the supervisory forces of the Bell Sy stern by the Informatioyi Department of 
American Telephone and Telegraph Co., tqj Broadway, New York y, N. Y. 
Walter S. Gifford, Pres.; Carroll O. Bickelhaupt, Sec; Donald R. Belcher, Treas. 

Who's Who & What's What 

in This Issue 

"The veteran who has a physical disabil- 
ity will be placed (and trained where nec- 
essary) on a job ivhich fits his particular 
qualifications . not merely on a job he can 
do." So wrote Lawrence L. Armax- 
TROUT in "Welcoming Bell System Vet- 
erans Back to Work," which was published 
in the issue of this Magazine for Spring 
1945. That was the promise, made while 
this country was fighting enemies on two 
fronts. Now those wars are over, and he 
can measure the performance against the 
promise — as he does here. The facts which 
he sets forth speak for themselves. 

Mr. Armantrout joined the Traffic De- 
partment of the Michigan Bell Telephone 
Company in 1925, and in the next dozen 
3'ears held various assignments involving 
manual, dial, and toll operation. In 1937 
he moved over to the company's Personnel 
Department, and in 1943 he transferred to 
the A, T. and T. Company's Personnel 
Relations Department. Since going to 
New \'ork, he has been largely occupied 
with personnel matters arising out of neces- 
sary adjustments to military service and re- 
adjustments to peaceful employment. 

A WHOLE generation exists today which 
knows nothing of silent movies. To these 

awrence L. Armantrout 

Frank H. Lovette 

people, motion pictures naturally have di- 
alogue, music, appropriate noise — just as 
automobiles have self-starters and radios 
have loud speakers. To them the change 
from silent motion pictures to today's in- 
adequately nicknamed "talkies" is simply an 
accomplished fact. This younger genera- 
tion is still outnumbered, however, by peo- 
ple who experienced the change, marveled 
at it, and appreciate how great is the ad- 
vance, in artistry and interest, which came 
about two decades ago. The leading part 
which the Bell System played in the change 
is told in this issue's second article. 

The entirely different backgrounds of 
the two authors have fitted well together 
to give their story historical authenticity. 
Before joining the Western Electric Com- 
pany in 1943. Frank H. Lovette had 
been — among other things — publisher of a 
dail}' newspaper, executive officer of the old 
Federal Radio Commission, secretary to 
a member of Congress, and the author of 
three books. His present post is that of 
Historian, and his preparations for the arti- 
cle included much research in old records, 
patents, and similar documents. To this 
AL\gazine for Winter 1944-45 he con- 

Bell Telephone Magazine 


Stanley Watkins 

' tributed "Western Electric's First 75 
\'ears: A Chronology." 

Stanley Watkins joined the Bell Lab- 
oratories (then Western Electric Compa- 
ny's Engineering Department) in 191 1, 
and his various activities there have in- 
cluded several years of active participation 
in the development of sound motion pic- 
tures, beginning in 1922. In 1925 he had 
charge of the Laboratories' group which in- 
stalled and operated the first commercial 
sound picture recording system in the Vita- 
phone studios in Brooklyn; he was then for 
a year Vitaphone's chief engineer ; and from 
1927 to 1936 he was director of recording 
engineering and European technical direc- 
tor for ERPL Since returning to the Lab- 
oratories in 1937, he has worked on a vari- 
ety of projects; and his wide background 
and long experience are now being em- 
ployed in the Laboratories' Publication 

Some of the places pictured in "Command 
Circuits" are doubly familiar to Eldon 
iNlCHOLS, for he saw them twice : once, 

i under fire, as an officer in the Army Signal 
Corps; and, again, as a civilian expert sent 
out by the Long Lines Department to help 
reestablish overseas telephone service with 

! the United States. Probably even more 

I familiar to him are the radio teletypewriter 
circuits he describes, for he looked at them 

i from two sides : first as staff representative 
(overseas service) in Long Lines, where he 

took part in early work on radio teletype- 
writers ; and again as Officer in Charge of 
Communications Facilities Engineering Sec- 
tion, Office of the Chief Signal Officer. 
Mr. Nichols assisted in the installation of 
the first chain of single-channel radio tele- 
typewriter circuits through the Caribbean, 
South America, and Africa, and in commu- 
nications planning in the Pacific Ocean and 
Southwest Pacific areas. 

]\Ir. Nichols joined Long Lines in Bos- 
ton in 1922, and three years later trans- 
ferred to New York. There he filled sev- 
eral assignments in the Plant Department 
prior to the staff post (already mentioned) 
he held when he entered the Army, in 
1942, as Captain. At the time of his re- 
lease in November 1945 he was a Lieuten- 
ant Colonel. He was awarded the Legion 
of Merit for his work with the Chief Sig- 
nal Officer, and received the Bronze Star 
Medal for feats performed during his tour 
of duty in the Pacific under General Mac- 
Arthur. He returned from his civilian ex- 
pedition to Manila and Tokyo last April, 
and is now circuit layout engineer at Long 
Lines' New York headquarters. 

The ACCOUNT of the many ways in which 
the Bell Telephone Laboratories con- 
tributed to Allied victory, which was begun 
in the preceding (Winter) issue, is con- 
cluded with the article beginning on page 
116. Since these paragraphs are largely a 
compilation "from the record," their au- 
thor may be identified most conveniently as 
that prolific and frequently quoted author- 
ity. Anonymous. The Editors 

Eldon Nichols 


Utility in a setting of peace and beauty: one of the joint Army-Navy radio stations on 
Guam. See ''Cotnmand Circuits " beginning on page loi 


Nearly 1,500 Former Employees and 700 Other Veterans 

With Service-i?tcurred Disabilities Are on the Job with 

Bell System Telephone Companies 

Putting Disabled Veterans 

Back to Work 

Lawrence L. ylrmantrout 

Let's take three instances, by way 
of illustration: — 

The Kraut artillery had the range, 
and when the American tank started 
to cross the bridge they blew it off 
and into the water, where it lay partly 
submerged. Because it was under 
fire, the crew could not be rescued 
until darkness fell. Wounds and ex- 
posure caused injury to the tank cap- 
tain's leg muscles which Army doc- 
tors rated, when he was discharged, 
as a fifty percent impairment of use 
of the legs. 

A shell-burst got the infantryman 
before he could make the foxhole, 
and messed up his right leg. It had 
to come off, finally — below the knee. 
Now he wears an artificial leg. 

Jap gunfire never got to a certain 
Marine during all his service in the 
Pacific, but malaria did. It was the 
recurring type, and with it came head- 
aches which at the time of his dis- 
charge were rated as incapacitating. 

Those three men were Bell System 

employees serving their country on 
military leave of absence. Now they 
are back on the job again, doing good 
and useful work and happy in the 
doing of it. 

They are cited here because they 
bring out an important point in con- 
nection with the reestablishment of 
disabled veterans on the job. That 
is, the wide variety of situations the 
telephone companies run into as they 
work with their returning employees 
to find the right job for every indi- 

Matching disabled veterans and 
suitable jobs is only one part of the 
Bell System's general program for 
placing all returning employees in the 
right assignment * ; but it is a highly 
important part. Specifically, its ma- 
jor objective is to put the veteran on 
a job for which his particular quali- 
fications fit him — and not merely on 
a job he may be able to do. 

* See "Welcoming Bell System Veterans Back 
to Work," Magazine, Spring 1945. 


Bell Telephone Magazine 



Nearly 1 ,500 Have Some 
Degree of Disability 

That's the target. How close to 
the bull's-eye are we shooting? 

Suppose we add up the score so 
far, and look at the figures. 

Up to July I of this year, more 
than 32,000 employees had returned 
from the Armed Forces to the op- 
erating telephone companies of the 
Bell System. Those who incurred 
some degree of physical disability 
while in the service are of course a 
relatively small proportion of the to- 
tal : 1,488, or about four percent. 

Of that figure, 16 represent ampu- 
tations; 118, impaired sight or hear- 
ing; 421, disabilities involving some 
restriction of movement; and 933, al- 
most two-thirds of the group, disabil- 
ities such as tropical diseases, condi- 
tions of the heart or nerves, arthritis, 
and other ills which, while incurred in 
the service, are not caused directly by 

That isn't the total reckoning, how- 
ever. For in addition to welcoming 
back the 1,488 men just enumerated, 
the telephone companies have been 
proud to hire another 689 veterans, 
not previously employed, who have 
some degree of disability. Of this 
group of new employees, 14 have had 
amputations, and nearly a quarter of 
them have a disability which causes 
some restriction of motion. 

Statistically, those figures total 
2,177. •^'■'t the statistics are signifi- 
cant only as a measure of the oppor- 
tunity. What is important is 2,177 
men, individuals: each with his own 
problems, his own hopes; each to be 
placed on the job he can do best. 

It wasn't all new to the System — 
this business of placing disabled em- 

ployees on work they are equipped to 
do. The System has been operating 
for a good many years, and has 
gained some experience both with 
men whose disabilities developed in 
the course of their employment and 
with men who were employed with 
some physical impairment. 

That experience was sound and 
helpful; but, the telephone companies 
realized, it wasn't enough. So, within 
the general program for welcoming 
the returning veterans, they set up a 
special program for the veterans who 
would return bearing in some form 
the scars of war. 

That special program fell natu- 
rally into three sections: planning, 
doing, and checking. Let us see what 
is involved in each. 

Planning. The first step was to 
review past experience in placing em- 
ployees with physical limitations, to 
see what could be learned there for 
future application. 

Then came a re-analysis, thorough 
and detailed, of the physical require- 
ments of the various occupations of 
the business. 

From this could be derived the re- 
lationship between various kinds of 
physical limitations and the kinds of 
work that could be done with — or in 
spite of — those limitations. 

Then, to corroborate theory, one 
company fashionecf an adjustable de- 
vice which, when strapped to the 
body, could produce the effect of 
physical restriction on various parts 
of the body. The actual effect of dif- 
ferent kinds of simulated limitations 
was observed on the performance of 
various types of work operations, 
and the results of this study were 
made known throughout the System. 


Putting Disabled Veterans Back to Work 


Whatever information was avail- 
able outside the business was freely 
consulted. The reports and studies 
of the Armed Forces, the Veterans 
Administration, and the War Man- 
power Commission were found par- 
ticularly helpful. 

Doing. The facts about job re- 
quirements developed during the 
planning phase have been of the 
greatest practical value to the people 
who have the actual responsibility for 
making the assignment of the veteran 
to the specific job. 

No less important has it been to 
find out the disabled employee's phys- 
ical capacities, his interests, and the 
range of his present and potential 

The employee's physical capacity 
to do can thus be matched against 
the physical requirements of several 
specific jobs, and the selection of the 
particular job made on the basis of 
his particular interests and capabili- 

Such hand-and-glove fitting is by 
no means an automatic process. Since 
we are dealing with human beings — 
individuals, personalities — and not 
objects nor statistics, it calls for the 
closest kind of cooperation between 
people who do the job assigning, the 
Medical Department, and people in 
other supervisory positions. 

Out of it comes not just assignment 
to a job which the employee can do 
with safety to himself and others, but 
to a job where he can have the satis- 
faction of using fully his particular 
qualifications and of making his most 
effective contribution to the success of 
the business. 

Checking. Since the process is hu- 
man and not automatic, the program 

includes regular follow-up of each 
man and his job, to see that things go 
along smoothly: that the adjustment 
to civilian life and productive employ- 
ment is made easier for him; that if 
he needs training, it is made avail- 
able to him. 

This follow-up is the responsibility 
of supervisors within each depart- 
ment. If a specific problem arises, 
the solution is found and constructive 
action taken — with the cooperation, 
as required, of those responsible for 
placement and the Medical Depart- 

Most Men Return to 
Their Old Jobs 

Those are generalizations. It is 
possible to be quite specific in describ- 
ing the kinds of jobs in which vet- 
erans with disabilities have been 

Such matters as this determine 
whether the program is a success — 
whether the reality lives up to the 

Let's see what the record shows. 

Of the 1,488 employees who came 
back with some degree of disability, 
more than 1,000 have been returned 
to the jobs they held before entering 
the Service, without the need for 
making any change in the scope of the 
job or the functions it includes. 

In 72 instances, it has been neces- 
sary to revise some of the functions 
of the job or to limit the employee to 
doing only certain parts of the job. 
For example, certain disabilities pre- 
vent former installers from climbing, 
although they are entirely competent 
at every other function of the in- 
staller's work. In many instances it 
has been possible to assign these men 


Bell Telephone Magazine 


to areas where climbing isn't neces- 

New jobs have been found for 314 
disabled employees. Most but not 
all of these re-assignments were ne- 
cessitated by the inability of the men 
to do their former work competently 
and safely. In 90 percent of these 
instances, the employee's maximum 
wage rate for the new occupation is 
the same as or higher than for his 
old job. In the remaining 10 per- 
cent, which have a lower ultimate 
wage, the companies are making ev- 
ery effort, through special training, 
to fit the men for assignments which 
will compare with their old jobs. 
Up-grading has already been possible 
in more than half of these instances. 

Twenty-four employees have dis- 
abilities which have rendered them 
at least temporarily unemployable. 
They have been reinstated and placed 
on disability under the companies' 
Benefit and Pension Plans. There is 
expectation that before long some 
will be able to do productive work. 

Adapting the Man 
and the Job 

Assignment to new jobs has been 
most necessary, generally speaking, 
in those occupations which require 
outdoor activity and muscular effort 
or a good deal of mobility. To a 
lesser extent, inability to do certain 
operations requiring manual dexter- 
ity has been a factor. 

Of the 16 employees who under- 
went amputations, seven are doing 
effective work on their old jobs. One 
man is back at his old job, somewhat 
revised, at the same rate of pay. 
Eight have been placed in new oc- 
cupations, at the same rate or better. 

Of that last number, here are some 

A combination-man lost a leg and 
wears an artificial one. He was 
trained and is functioning as a cen- 
tral office repair man. 

An installer who lost his left hand 
was trained and then placed as a 
plant assigner. 

Another installer suffered the loss 
of the four fingers of his right hand 
— although the thumb remains use- 
ful. He was given special training 
to develop the necessary dexterity in 
his left hand, and is now performing 
all the functions of the installer's job, 
including climbing, without apparent 

Of the 421 employees whose disa- ' 
bility involved restriction of motion 
of some part of the body, about one- 
third have been placed on different ' 
jobs. Examples of this type of shift: 

An installer suffered loss of 
strength and muscle balance in both 
legs. For a while he was placed on 
disability, and subsequently was given 
facilities assigning work. But his 
physical improvement was such that 
within six months he could resume all ' 
the functions of his old job — and did. 

A house service man's leg was so 
severely injured that it became im- 
mobile. He was given training for 
and then assigned to a clerical job. 

An installer whose back injury 
brought about restricted bodily mo- 
tion was first placed in sedentary 
work as a general clerk; but improve- 
ment in his condition made it pos- 
sible to place him as a line assigner, 
and there is good prospect of still 
another job — as a central office re- 

A construction groundman's injury 



Putting Disabled Veterans Back to Work 


resulted in partial paralysis of the 
right arm. He was re-trained as, 
and now is, a central office repairman. 

A sales manager had his foot badly 
crushed. But that injury did not af- 
fect his ability to do his old job. 

Of the 118 employees who re- 
turned with impaired sight or hear- 
ing, all but 16 have been placed In 
their old jobs. There were no cases 
of total blindness and only two of 
total deafness — and the latter are 
able to handle their old jobs satis- 

In the largest group — 933 — whose 
disabilities Included tropical diseases, 
conditions of the heart or nerves, 
arthritis, and similar Ills, assignment 
to different jobs was necessary for 
less than 20 percent. In most in- 
stances these involved a necessary 
change from installation or construc- 
tion work to jobs requiring less phys- 
ical exertion. 

The 689 newly employed veterans 
with some degree of disability have 
all been placed on jobs in which their 
disabilities present no insuperable 
handicaps, and so they may look for- 
ward to contributing successfully to 
the progress of the business and 

The story of placing disabled vet- 
erans where they will do the very best 
jobs they can for themselves and their 

companies is necessarily told here in 
terms of generalities and a few anon- 
ymous instances. 

There are other contributing fac- 
tors to the accomplishment of the 
program which must not be over- 

The attitude of "supervision," 
from foreman to president, has been 
constructive and helpful. 

All of those who have had the 
important responsibility for bringing 
the right man and the right job to- 
gether have exercised Imagination 
and ingenuity not only In doing that 
part of the job but In developing spe- 
cial kinds of training when needed. 

Fellow employees have contrib- 
uted Immeasurably in understanding 
and encouragement — both those who 
have returned sound and whole to 
their old jobs and those who, because 
they played their parts on the home 
front, feel forever indebted to the 
men who laid down their tools to take 
up arms. 

But the greatest contribution comes 
from the men themselves. By their 
eager cooperation In finding the right 
assignment, their Indomitable will to 
rise above whatever physical limita- 
tions they may have, they give the 
rest of us convincing demonstration 
that "disability" is not necessarily 
synonymous with "handicap." 

The Sciences and Techniques Which Have Contributed to 

the Co7tstant Progress of Telepho?iy Had By-products which 

Culminated in 1926 in Sound Motion Pictures 

Twenty Years of 'Talkin: 
Movies': an Anniversary 

Frank H. Lovette and 
Stanley Watkins 

Twenty years have now passed since 
the night of August 6, 1926, when 
Western Electric and Bell Telephone 
Laboratories, in collaboration with 
Warner Brothers Pictures Inc. and 
the Vitaphone Corporation, gave to 
the world that by-product of telephone 
research which has often been called 
the living voice of the stiver screen. 

That memorable occasion, which 
the Bell System joins Warner Broth- 
ers in observing, was the premiere of 
the world's first successful commercial 
sound picture, Don Juan, featuring 
the noted actor John Barrymore. It 
was preceded by short film presenta- 
tions of opera stars and musicians — 
the first time a theater audience had 
heard the natural tones of music and 
the human voice from a motion pic- 
ture screen. 

There were distinguished guests in 
Warner Brothers' New York theater 

that night — among them a score or 
more of the scientists and engineers of 
Western Electric and Bell Telephone 
Laboratories who had labored for 
years to perfect the devices which 
were combined in the apparatus about 
to receive its first public demonstra- 
tion. If some of them were anxious, it 
was understandable : the crucial test 
was at hand. 

Then, as the theater lights were 
dimmed, symphonic music burst from 
the screen while the first of the short 
preliminary features appeared on it: 
the New York Philharmonic Orches- 
tra playing the overture from Wag- 
ner's Tannhdiiser. Next came Mischa 
Elman, playing Ilumoresque upon his 
violin. Roy Smeck, Marion Talley, 
Zimbalist, and Bauer performed in 
succession. With a full orchestral ac- 
companiment the noted Metropolitan 
Opera artist Giovanni Martinelli sang 

Twenty Years of 'Talking Movies' 


The big night: August (5, 1^26. The first public perjorm- 
ance of the first successful sound motion picture on Broad- 
way was an events as this crowd indicated 

the aria from TagViacc'i. Anna Case, 
singing in an elaborate Spanish fiesta 
set, climaxed the prelude. 

Before the applause could die away, 
the dramatic sequences of Don Juan 
unfolded against their synchronized 
musical backgrounci. Scientists, public 
officials, prominent figures from many 
walks of life sat in amazement until 
the last crescendo and finale of this 
scientific marvel. The men who 
brought it into being by their refine- 
ment of existing arts were hailed as 
having made possible "the greatest 
invention of the twentieth century." 
And Dr. Michael I. Pupin was led to 
exclaim that "no closer approach to 
resurrection has ever been made by 
science." The pioneers of Western 
Electric and Bell Telephone Labora- 

tories and their collaborators of 
Warner Brothers and Vitaphone ex- 
perienced that night a measure of 
accomplishment which few men of 
science ever live to taste or see. 

That was the climax, the culmination. 
The purpose here is to recall the state 
of the arts as they existed when West- 
ern Electric undertook development 
of sound pictures, and to review the 
steps by which they were brought to 
commercial acceptance. 

The achievement of a satisfactory 
technique for recording and repro- 
ducing sound synchronized with mo- 
tion pictures had been a cherished 
ambition of science for more than 
fifty years. 


Bell Telephone Magazine 


Distinguished inventors, engineers, 
physicists and chemists, men proficient 
in photography and the mechanical 
arts, as well as a veritable army of 
tinkerers, had followed the gleam of 
that rainbow, but none had found its 
end. They could not; for, however 
great may have been the contributions 
of these earlier experimenters to the 
advancement of the silent film, they 
completely lacked five essential ele- 
ments of the modern talking picture: 

1. A high-quality microphone capa- 
ble of transmitting a wide range 
of sound frequencies without dis- 
tortion and of being used at a 
distance from the performer. 

2. A non-distortive amplifier. 

3. An electrical recorder and re- 

4. A loud-speaker of high quality 
and adequate capacity. 

5. A synchronizing system free 
from speed variation. 

As LATE AS 19 1 2, the science of mod- 
ern electro-accoustics was yet unborn, 
and no efficient instrument for the 
measurement of sound was available. 
It was in October of that year that 
Lee deForest, a former Western 
Electric engineer who had left the 
company to pursue a career as an inde- 
pendent inventor in the field of "wire- 
less," submitted to Dr. Frank B, 
Jewett — then assistant to Western's 

Irving L'ndt-rhill 

Thomas A. Edison working in his West Orange laboratory in igo^ on the problem 

of synchronizing sound and pictures 



Twenty Years of 'Talking Movies' 


Chief Engineer, Charles E. Scribner 
— a little device which was to be of 
momentous importance to the Bell 
System. It was the "audion," which 
was ultimately to provide the solution 
to the System's problem of finding a 
practicable "repeater" for its long 
distance circuits. 

The development of a satisfactory 
repeater was a primary objective of 
telephone engineers in this country 
and throughout the world. Out of it 
would come the telephone's final con- 
quest of distance on this earth. So 
there were hours of intense discussion 
among deForest, Jewett, and E. H. 
Colpitts about such things as the 
audion's capabilities, the tests to which 

it had already been submitted, its 
adaptability to commercial manufac- 
ture, the proprietary interests of cer- 
tain others in it, and similar prelimi- 

Finally, it was agreed that the 
audion should be tested by Bell System 
engineers. If it performed in accord- 
ance with the high hopes of all, Jewett 
assured deForest that he would rec- 
ommend its purchase on the basis of 
terms the inventor had tentatively 

Late that afternoon when deForest 
said goodbye to his friends at 4.63 
West Street, he left his audion behind 
him. He did not dream that he had 
also left the magic key with which a 

Lee deForest. 

Ihown Brothers 

His audion became the magic key which unlocked the doors of a new 

scientific age 


Bell Telephone Magazine 


little group of telephone engineers 
would unlock the doors of a new scien- 
tific age. 

Jewett had a great ambition to 
achieve transcontinental telephony, to 
which an effective repeater would be 
essential, and one of the young engi- 
neers on his staff, H. D. Arnold, was 
working on the problem. 

Soon after deForest left his audion 
to be tested, Jewett summoned Arnold 
and showed him the device. The young 
engineer silently and critically exam- 
ined the audion while his chief ex- 
plained its background. 

Finally Arnold declared, "It will do 



He hastened to point out what steps 
he thought would have to be taken to 
increase the audion's efficiency. Both 
the outer circuit leading into the tube 
and the inner circuit would have to be 
redesigned. It was weak in output be- 
cause the chamber had not been com- 
pletely evacuated, and the higher 
vacuum could be obtained only with 
a pump superior to the one deForest 
had used. Needless to say, Arnold got 
the assignment to refine and develop 
the audion. 

Although his analysis proved accu- 
rate and his 19 12 conception had to be 
altered but slightly, he could not build 
a high vacuum tube until 19 13, when 
he obtained a satisfactory vacuum 
pump from Europe. In the spring of 
that year, the Bell System purchased 
the audion. 

Testing the Audion 

Coincident with the acceptance of 
the audion came the need for qualified 
young scientists to augment the exist- 
ing research staff; for it was evident 
that the audion was potentially capa- 

ble of revolutionizing the art of com- 
munication, and that its capabilities 
had to be explored extensively as well 
as intensively. 

The vacuum tube — as the audion 
had now become — had to be tested on 
long lines and short lines. Its compo- 
nents had to undergo scores of lab- 
oratory tests. Research had to be 
conducted in more than one hundred 

During those exciting and busy 
months in the Western Electric Engi- 
neering Department, Jewett, Colpitts, 
E. B. Craft, Arnold, I. B. Crandall 
and their associates decided to record 
sound for its use as a laboratory tool. 
Transcontinental telephony would re- 
quire much more than just a first-class 
repeater. Higher quality transmitters 
and a wide variety of associated appa- 
ratus had to be designed. Much of it 
might be tested and compared by use 
of acoustical recordings. The record- 
ings would also serve to help appraise 
successive developments of the vac- 
uum tube and demonstrate its per- 
formance as an amplifier. 

This new approach to achievement 
of improved transmission, together 
with these original and fundamental 
studies of sound, marked the begin- 
ning of the science of electronic ampli- 

Talking pictures were not contem- 
plated by the engineers initiating these 
fundamental studies of sound. How- 
ever, they believed it imperative to 
obtain recordings of higher quality 
than those available by the commer- 
cial processes of the contemporary 
phonograph industry. They decided, 
therefore, to experiment with the re- 
cording of sound upon film (an old 
but non-commercial laboratory art) 
while simultaneously seeking to im- 


Twenty Years of 'Talking Movies' 


Harold D. Arnold. 
His development of 
deForest's audion into 
the high-vacuum tube 
met the Bell System's 
pressing need for a 
practicable repeater 
for its long distance 

prove the wax disc method of record- 

The broad scientific attack pro- 
jected by this program contained a 
great variety of complex elements. 
After the fashion of a modern military 
invasion, the generals and their subor- 
dinates had to divide and sub-divide 
their respective responsibilities. 

While Arnold attacked the audion, 
other Western Electric engineers, 
using an improved microphone and a 
Duddell Oscillograph, recorded sound 
upon film in the winter of 1912-13. 
These first recordings were of the 
variable area type. 

Early in 19 13, H. A. Frederick 
began work upon instruments for 
transmission of music, and soon there- 
after the engineers Crandall and 
Kranz began construction of an 
electro-magnetic phonograph repro- 
ducer. Experiments were continued 

with both film and disc. Most of these 
engineers pursued uncharted path- 
ways. Their original notebooks, still 
preserved, reveal the minutely de- 
tailed and frequently dramatic results 
of this research. 

Improving the Microphone 

Meanwhile, a number of young 
engineers had been welcomed into 
Western Electric's Engineering De- 
partment : alert, ambitious youngsters, 
eager to put their university-acquired 
knowledge to practical use. Among 
these newcomers was Edward C. 
Wente, who arrived in 19 14. 

When young Wente had been there 
a few months, he was given a micro- 
phone by Arnold and Crandall. It was 
the highest quality electro-magnetic 
transmitter known to telephone engi- 
neers; it represented the cumulative 


Bell Telephone Magazine 



DeForest's audion as submitted to Dr. Jewett in igi2 {left)^ and the high-vacuum tube 

developed in igi^ for the first telephone repeater 

effort expended in this field since Bell's 
invention of the telephone. His supe- 
riors explained to Wente the nature 
and extent of his first major assign- 
ment. The microphone had to be made 
capable of transmitting music, and this 
required its development to a hitherto 
unattempted quality. The frequency 
range of music was wider and its loud- 
ness range much greater than that of 
speech. One obstacle to constructing 
such a microphone was the lack of any 
available means of accurately measur- 
ing its performance. 

About the time Wente was ready to 
consult Arnold and Crandall concern- 
ing the feasibility of a device he had 
conceived for microphone calibration, 
he found them too busy to help him. It 
was late in 19 14, and 463 West Street 
was suddenly plunged into a whirl of 
activity and excitement. The vacuum 
tube repeaters were working on the 
long lines to Denver. Soon came the 
tests between New York and San 
Francisco. The new repeaters worked 
with equal effectiveness! 

The high-vacuum tube was just 
getting started on its triumphs. On 

September 29, 19 15, Bell System en- 
gineers provided a world sensation by 
transmitting human speech between 
Arlington and Honolulu. Less than 
one month later, on October 20, 1915, 
this feat was duplicated between Ar- 
lington and the Eiffel Tower in Paris. 
Telephone engineers had registered a 
scientific achievement which was hailed 
as one of the most important in his- 

The New Repeater Succeeds 

The audion had started the whole 
program, and no one concerned was 
more elated than deForest. In a paper 
afterward for the Franklin Institute, 
he referred to the Western Electric 
engineers as follows : 

The developments by the engineer- 
ing staff of the Western Electric Com- 
pany of the audion amplifier as a 
telephone repeater, since my first dem- 
onstration to them of its possibilities 
in that field, are beyond all praise. The 
zeal and rare understanding of the 
elements of the problem with zvhich 
this staff of trained men developed 


Twenty Years of 'Talking Movies' 


the amplifier and applied it to the long- 
sought trans-continental telephone line 
stand unique in the annals of brilliant 
achievement in electrical engineering. 

The transcontinental and trans- 
oceanic conquests accelerated tele- 
phone research In all Its subdivided 
fields. When Wente presented his case 
for the need of a microphone-calibrat- 
ing instrument to Arnold and Cran- 
dali, they aided him in the design and 
construction of it. This Instrument, 
called the thermophone, permitted 
accurate measurement of microphone 
performance for the first time. 

Until then, the microphone had 
been the source of power, and there- 
fore It had to be designed for the 
highest possible efl'iciency. The power 
from the microphone had to be sufl^i- 
clent to provide electrical Impulses of 
enough strength to produce the re- 

quired volume when the electric cur- 
rent was translated into sound at the 

Arnold's high-vacuum tube amplifier 
made It possible to sacrifice efficiency 
for the sake of quality. Accordingly, 
Wente concentrated upon a micro- 
phone which would give uniform re- 
sponse at the various pitches In the 
audible range. His thermophone per- 
mitted quantitative measurements at 
each Individual pitch. By 19 16 he had 
developed the condenser microphone. 
It gave uniform response up to more 
than 1 5 ,000 cycles, and left little to be 
desired from the standpoint of qual- 
ity. Both his thermophone and con- 
denser microphone were adopted as 
standard by the International Refer- 
ence System for Telephony located In 
Paris. For his condenser microphone 
he received the John Price Wetherell 
medal of the Franklin Institute. In an 

E. C. Wente. His 
condenser microphone 
ivas one of the founda- 
tion stones on which 
sound motion pictures 
were built 


Bell Telephone Magazine 


article published in the Physical Re- 
view in 191 7, Wente pointed out the 
advantages of his condenser micro- 
phone for recording sound upon film. 

Accomplishtyients of Four Years 

During Wente's early research, the 
recording of sound was receiving a 
fresh impetus from the success and 
future possibilities of the high-vacuum 

In June 191 5, Arnold suggested 
making phonograph records with a 
high-quality transmitter anci amplifier, 
pointing out the exceptional results 
which had been obtained by use of the 
Frederick transmitter in conjunction 
with a vacuum-tube amplifier during 
transmission tests between Denver 
and New York. Crandall and Kranz 
had used their electrical reproducer 
experimentally in 19 14. By 19 15, 
superior electrical reproducers were 
in use with phonograph records, but 
the records themselves had not been 
made electrically; in other words, not 
by a method employing a high-quality 
wide-frequency-range microphone and 

On June 24, 19 16, Crandall re- 
ported to Colpitts that one of the engi- 
neers in his group had made record- 
ings of sound on film by the variable 
density method. They were of such 
surprising quality, he concluded in his 
written report: "I see no reason why 
a method for producing talking pic- 
tures of fair quality cannot be devel- 

Thus, by 1916, Western Electric 
engineers had : 

1 . Refined the audion into the high- 
vacuum tube. (19 13) 

2. Given the vacuum tube its first 
commercial application by open- 

ing transcontinental telephone 
service. ( 1915 ) 

3. Demonstrated trans - Atlantic 
radio telephony between Arling- 
ton and the Eiffel Tower. 


4. Recorded sound on film by the 

variable area method. 

5. Recorded sound on film by the 
variable density method. 


6. Constructed improved electrical 
reproducers for the wax-disc 
phonograph. (19 14-15) 

7. Developed the condenser micro- 
phone. (1916) 

In less than four years of coopera- 
tive research, Bell System scientists 
had produced this impressive array of 
engineering achievements. Modern 
talking pictures beckoned at the 
threshold. The prospect was tempting 
to those who had journeyed so far in 
that direction. But the crossing of that 
threshold suddenly was made quite 
Impossible because the awful specter 
of World War I hung darkly over 
American shores. In that same year, j 
19 1 6, the Bell System was called upon 
to arrange a vast mobilization of the 
nation's major communications facil- 
ities. The military preparedness pro- 
gram began. Not until the war was 
over was it possible to devote further 
research to the electrical recording 
and reproduction of sound. j 

Post- War Projects 

When the Western Electric engi- 
neers were able to return to telephone 
research, their fundamental studies of 
sound were resumed under Dr. Jew- 
ett's guidance. 

Arnold and his assistants inaugu- 


Twenty Years of 'Talking Movies' 


rated a score of projects Involving the 
vacuum tube — which, Incidentally, 
had come a long way during the years 
of war. Wente resumed his work upon 
the condenser microphone and, to- 
gether with Crandall and others, con- 
ducted a new experiment In the 
recording of sound on film. At this 
same time another group, headed by 
J. P. Maxfield, undertook Improve- 
ment of the technique of recording on 
wax discs. 

E. B. Craft had been associated 
with development work since coming 
to Western Electric In 1902. Now that 
he had become one of Dr. Jewett's 
assistant chief engineers, he proved a 
stimulating factor In expediting and 
coordinating the various research 
projects. A high-quality public address 
system became one of his first objec- 
tives. The condenser microphone and 
vacuum-tube amplifiers and receivers. 

already devised by Western's engi- 
neers, needed little more than proper 
adaptation and redesign for commer- 
cial purposes to make such a public 
address system possible. The so called 
"loud speakers" were In reality loud- 
speaking telephone receivers. 

Developments in Loud Speakers 
and Recording Sound 

Within a few months after the re- 
turn of peace, a public address system 
was a laboratory reality. But the sys- 
tem of 19 19 was not sufficiently free 
from distortion. By 1920 It was great- 
ly Improved; and In March 192 1, 
125,000 persons clearly heard every 
word of President Harding's Inaug- 
ural address through the Western 
Electric public address system. 

Eight months of Improvement and 
experimentation made possible the 

/. P. Maxjicid {coite}-), whose group developed electrical soiDid-oi-disc recording which 

was used in the musical scoring oj Don Juan^ and is still used throughout the phonograph 

industry. With him are H. C. Harrison and D. G. Blatttier 


Bell Telephone Magazine 


use of the public address system in 
connection with long distance wires. 
President Harding's address of No- 
vember II, 1921, at the burial of the 
Unknown Soldier at Arlington, epito- 
mized one of the most significant 
ceremonies in American history. His 
words were transmitted through the 
public address systems at Arlington 
and — via long distance circuits — to 
audiences at Madison Square Garden 
and the adjoining park in New York 
and the Civic Auditorium and Plaza 
at San Francisco. More than 150,000 
heard the address: the greatest audi- 
ence that had ever listened to a single 

Another great stride toward sound 
pictures had been accomplished. 

During the previous year Wente 
had been working on the recording of 
sound upon film by the variable density 
method. The 19 12-13 recordings upon 

film had been by the variable area 
method. Those of 19 19 were made by 
the variable density method. The two 
methods have been briefly summarized 
as follows : 
"In variable density recordings, the 
motion picture film is moved at 
right angles to a narrow slit, me- 
chanical or optical, through which 
over Its whole length there falls 
upon the film a light varying in In- 
tensity with the sound pressure to 
be recorded. In variable area re- 
cording, there Is a like slit, but what 
varies with the sound pressure is 
the length of the part of the slit 
through which a constant light 
reaches the film. When completed, 
the variable density record viewed 
lengthwise looks like a ladder with 
rungs spaced according to the pitch 
and darkened according to the 
loudness of the recorded sound. The 

E. B. Craft (left) makiiig a sound picture for demonstration^ at the Vitapho}ie Studios 
in the Manhattan Opera House in IQ26. He exhibited the first electricallv recorded 

sound picture in IQ22 


Twenty Years of 'Talking Movies' 


variable area record, viewed from 
the edge of the film, looks like a 
hedge with uneven trimming, hav- 
ing peaks and pits corresponding 
in height to the loudness and in 
spacing to the pitch of the sound 


Upon first undertaking the variable 
density method, Wente considered 
various devices which had been pro- 
posed. It appeared to him that the 
method being used in that year, 1920, 
by Professor Rankine of England, for 
speech transmission over a light beam 
might provide the most correct film 
exposure. He made certain modifica- 
tions of the device and constructed an 
instrument of similar type. The qual- 
ity of his recordings compared favor- 
ably with that of the commercial 
phonograph records, but that did not 
satisfy Wente or Arnold. Wente 
finally concluded that the method did 
not permit correct film exposure. His 
next step was to devise the new and 
improved light valve in 1921-22. The 
device gave ample exposure even at 
high camera speeds, and removed the 
biggest single stumbling block to the 
successful recording of sound on film 
by the variable density method. 

Since the war, Wente had devoted 
a part of his time to improvement of 
his condenser microphone. By 1923 it 
was about 100 times more sensitive 
than his first condenser microphone of 
1916 ; and either the condenser micro- 
phone, or a high-quality carbon micro- 
phone employing a method of damp- 
ing of the diaphragm discovered in the 
development of the condenser trans- 
mitter, was in use in public address 
systems and from the beginning in all 
the important radio broadcasting 

A Momentous First 

In 1922 Western Electric stepped up 
commercial production of micro- 
phones, vacuum tubes, public address 
system units, and various types of 
radio apparatus. The infant radio 
broadcasting industry developed a 
lusty voice. The American public was 
rapidly being captivated by the new 
entertainment art. 

Craft now decided to step in front 
of the field by producing a talking 
motion picture. The group under Max- 
field, using the new condenser micro- 
phone and improved vacuum-tube 
amplifying devices, had developed 
electrical recording by the wax-disc 
method to a greatly advanced stage. 

Accordingly, Craft produced the 
first electrically recorded talking pic- 
ture, which employed the new method 
developed by his engineers. It was ex- 
hibited in October, 1922, at Woolsey 
Hall of Yale University in New 

This picture itself was accompanied 
by a transcribed lecture which ex- 
plained the audion. The recorded 
voice of the speaker came from the 
screen with so natural a quality that 
the assembled students and scientists 
suspected a hoax. All were amazed 
when the recorded speaker, a Western 
Electric engineer, appeared upon the 
stage while his recorded voice came 
from the screen. 

Improvements in Techniques 

The New Haven success inspired 
Craft to produce "Hawthorne," a pic- 
ture with sound on disc portraying 
Western Electric's role as the manu- 
facturing unit of the Bell System. 
This, the first industrial sound picture, 
was shown at the Hotel Astor at a 


Bell Telephone Magazine 


dinner given by Western's President, 
Charles G. DuBois, to 250 Bell Sys- 
tem officials on February 13, 1924. 
The apparatus had been notably im- 
proved since the New Haven demon- 
stration and now included an auto- 
matic synchronizing system in place 
of the manual method used at New 
Haven. Synchronization of the phono- 
graph with the motion picture was 
not new, but the problem of designing 
a synchronous drive free enough from 
speed variations to be used with the 
high-quality electric records was a 
tough one. It was overcome by the 
groups under H. M. Stoller, H. Pfan- 
nenstiehl, and Maxfield. 

A dominant factor in the solution 
of the drive problem was the mechani- 
cal filter developed by H. C. Harrison. 
He developed the high-quality disc 
reproducer, and also the "rubber-line 
recorder" which became the standard 
for high-quality disc recording. These 
devices represented an entirely new 
method for handling mechanical prob- 
lems by the analogous electrical trans- 
mission techniques. The Harrison con- 
tributions to the development of talk- 
ing pictures were outstanding. 

The Orthophonic Phonograph 

Meanwhile, another portion of 
Maxfield's group determined better 
methods of controlling acoustics dur- 
ing sound pick-up by practical applica- 
tions of methods learned from the use 
of the Western Electric public address 
system and from analysis of studio 
design and sound pick-up at the 
A. T. & T. radio station, WEAF. 

Thus, early in 1924 Western Elec- 
tric had a phonograph and recordings, 
in the laboratory stage, which repro- 
duced speech, song, and instrumental 
music with fidelity and hitherto-unex- 

ampled tonal beauty. Many who heard 
it, including Thomas A. Edison, left 
the demonstrations with praise which 
ran to superlatives. 

That same year the new method of 
electrical recording and reproduction 
was demonstrated to both the Colum- 
bia and Victor phonograph companies. 
After Columbia and Victor had ex- 
perimented with the new method for 
several months, the so-called ortho- 
phonic phonograph came into being; 
it included an ingenious six-foot folded 
logarithmic horn within a phonograph 
cabinet. Both Columbia and Victor 
were licensed by Western early in 
1925 to use the new method. 

Recording Sound on Film 

During the developments leading up 
to the orthophonic phonograph, other 
Western engineers steadily advanced 
the art of recording sound on film. 

Donald MacKenzie's studies of 
photographic emulsions and the treat- 
ment of film had commenced in 1922. 

In 1923, equipment was devised for 
synchronizing the film recorder and 
motion picture camera by means of an 
electrically operated gearing. 

In that year Wente and MacKenzie 
made broader studies of emulsions, 
the problem of printing positives from 
negatives, amplifiers, the character- 
istics of light-sensitive devices, acous- 
tics of recording studios, and micro- 
phone placement for sound pick-up. 

In May 1923, Maxfield's group was 
making synchronized talking pictures 
with local talent speaking, singing, and 
playing musical instruments. In Octo- 
ber 1923, a synchronized picture and 
sound-on-film recording was made and 
exhibited to members of the labora- 
tory. In November 1923, a one-act 


Twenty Years of 'Talking Movies' 


''Cutting a disc" in ig26. The apparatus at the left is engraving sound vibrations on a 
wax disc, duplicates from which will be played in synchronism with a film 

sketch was similarly photographed 
and recorded. 

By March 1924, MacKenzie con- 
cluded that better results would be ob- 
tained in recording sound on film by 
using a positive emulsion instead of 
the high-speed negative emulsion em- 
ployed up to that time. The motion 
picture industry was then using a rela- 
tively coarse-grained negative emul- 
sion of great light sensitivity and con- 
sequently of great speed. 

The development of Wente's light 
valve, with its ability to modulate a 
light of relatively high intensity, en- 
abled use of a much finer grained 
emulsion and lower speed, thus obtain- 
ing a sound record of improved quality 
and frequency range with much less 
background noise. The recording on 
positive emulsion was later to become 

standard practice in the motion picture 

It will be seen that co-incident with 
mastery of the art of sound on disc, 
Western Electric's engineers had also 
by early 1924 solved the basic prob- 
lems of recording sound on film. The 
quality of the sound reproduction ob- 
tainable from the two methods was 
about the same. But the disc method 
was an improvement of an old com- 
mercial art and had the immense ad- 
vantage that the processes for pre- 
paring, handling, and duplicating the 
discs were well known ; while for proc- 
essing sound-film, an entirely new 
technique had to be introduced into 
the film plants, involving changes in 
the method of developing and print- 
ing the pictures themselves. 


Bell Telepho)ie Magazine 


This situation, coupled with a pros- 
pective dual commercial outlet for 
musical recordings from motion pic- 
ture productions, predetermined the 
use of disc recording in the introduc- 
tion of sound pictures. 

A few of E. B. Craft's advisers 
urged immediate commercialization 
of the Western Electric sound picture 
system in 1924. He declined, prefer- 
ring to await more rigid tests of the 
equipment in actual or simulated com- 
mercial operating conditions. He well 
knew the difficulties which had been 
encountered in previous attempts to 
introduce talking pictures. 

Noteworthy attempts to produce 
commercially acceptable sound motion 
pictures had already been made by 
these individuals and organizations : 

By synchronisTu of phonograph and projector 

Thomas A. Edison U.S.A. and Europe 

Pathe Freres France and U.S.A. 

R. and E. Singing Picture Company . U.S.A. 
(J. B. Russell Muselaphone System) 

Webb Talking Pictures U.S.A. 

(J. B. Russell Muselaphone System) 
Cartella Talking Picture Machine Com- 
pany Italy and U.S.A. 

(Western Electric receivers and trans- 

C. H. Verity Talking Moving Picture 

System U.S.A. 


Leon Gaumont France 

Orlando E. Kellum U.S.A. 

By sound on film 

Eugene Lauste. . .France, England, U.S.A. 

Tri-Ergon Corporations 

Europe and U.S.A. 

Lee deForest U.S.A. and Germany 

During this testing period. Craft 
decided to produce a series of musical 
shorts with professional talent. An 
exciting period followed. Individuals 
with motion picture backgrounds, in- 

ventors, actors, musicians, promoters, 
and many others found their way to 
463 West Street. Those who reached 
Craft or his assistants volunteered a 
thousand varieties of advice and serv- 
ice. Some were admitted to demonstra- 
tions. A few made helpful suggestions. 
Craft told all who sought to com- 
mercialize the apparatus or to effect 
a Hollywood tie-up that Western 
Electric would consider any reason- 
able proposal. He promised to try to 
protect the interests of any who aided 
Western Electric in commercializing 
the apparatus. But to all he declared 
the Company desired to make the 

"The IVorks." Said a Western Electric 
announcement of the time^ ''This projection 
tnachine gives a motion picture audience 
both visual and audible . entertainment 
. . . Absolute synchronism , of film with 
reproduced sound having^^a naturalness 
never before attained . . ." 


Twenty Years of 'Talking Movies' 


apparatus available to the entire mo- 
tion picture industry. He therefore 
favored a responsible intermediate 
agency capable of performing that 

Authentic representations were 
made as to the superiority of West- 
ern's new sound picture technique, 
and offers for its commercialization 
were vigorously solicited. But by the 
end of 1924 practically every major 
producer in Hollywood had rejected 
Western Electric's sound picture sys- 

Obstacles to Cotnmercial Use 

The Western Electric engineers 
were not discouraged by Hollywood's 
indifference. Behind it lay valid rea- 

The motion picture producers had 
large inventories of silent films, which 
had cost millions to produce. They had 
great numbers of actors and actresses 
under long term contracts, most of 
whom knew no dramatic technique 
except that of pantomime. The indus- 
try was universally equipped with 
stages and studios suited only to the 
silent film technique. 

Moreover, world-wide foreign mar- 
kets had been established for silent 
films. To serve these markets, it was 
merely necessary to translate the 
words printed upon the film from Eng- 
lish to any language desired. Finding 
stars and supporting casts who spoke 
the various languages of the world, or 
finding ways to give the illusion of 
their speaking them, appeared to be 
an insuperable task. 

The art of the silent film had at- 
tained superb quality and the public 
was satisfied. Why then, producers 
asked, should Hollywood scrap the 
bulk of its assets, undertake stagger- 

ing conversion costs, and force upon 
the public a new and doubtful experi- 
mental art? 

Nor were the exhibitors equipped 
for sound. Many, it was argued, would 
not be able to meet the cost of sound 
picture equipment. 

These rebuffs had no effect upon the 
zeal of Craft and his associates, and 
they continuing to carry on their work 
after the Western Electric Engineer- 
ing Department was incorporated as 
Bell Telephone Laboratories at the 
end of 1924. 

An altogether fortuitous visit of a 
Western Electric field engineer to the 
Laboratories at 463 West Street de- 
termined the immediate future of 
sound pictures. 

One day early in 1925 Nathan 
Levinson, Western's radio specialist 
from the Pacific district, arrived at 
the Laboratories to familiarize him- 
self with the newest developments in 
radio and public address equipment. 
Levinson had aided Samuel L. War- 
ner in the purchase and installation 
work of radio station KFWB, estab- 
lished by Warner Brothers a short 
time before at Los Angeles. He had 
worked in close relationship with Sam 
Warner, and their collaboration had 
led to a warm friendship. 

During his visit to West Street, 
Levinson attended a sound picture 
demonstration provided by Maxfield, 
and saw one of the musical shorts 
Craft had produced in 1924. 

The film began with a pianist enter- 
ing a studio. Levinson heard the 
natural sounds of his steps; he heard 
clicks as he unbuttoned his gloves, the 
realistic sound when he tossed aside 
cane, hat, and coat. Then the per- 
former sat down and commenced to 


Bell Telephojie Magazine 


play. The music of the piano flowed 
from the screen with startling reality. 

Levinson was an astute engineer 
who knew sound. What he now saw 
and heard was to him genuinely thrill- 
ing. His face shone with admiration 
when the lights were turned on, and 
he pronounced it wonderful. Before 
he left the studio, his active brain was 
formulating a plan to bring Sam War- 
ner to West Street. 

A few weeks later Levinson visited 
Sam Warner in Hollywood. 

He told Warner he thought the 
Western Electric Company had the 
complete solution to the sound motion 
picture. He declared that the syn- 
chronization and quality of the dem- 
onstration he had witnessed were so 
striking that he was confident that an 
organization with the facilities and 
technique of Warner Brothers, work- 
ing with Bell Telephone Laboratories' 
engineers, could produce such colorful 
productions as "Rose Marie," the 
record-breaking musical comedy hit 
then on the New York stage. The 
great musicals of Broadway, world- 
famous orchestras, grand opera, and 
kindred entertainment luxuries of 
metropolitan centers could be taken 
to Main Street and the rest of the 
world by means of sound pictures. 

Sam Warner assured Levinson he 
would accompany him to a demonstra- 
tion on his next visit to New York, 

^^The Greatest Thing in the 
World' ' — Sa/;/ JVanier 

Western Electric had by this time 
invested heavily and over many years 
in sound picture development. It was 
felt that decisive steps should now be 
taken to make the system available to 
the motion picture industry. Walter J. 
Rich of New York was a highly rec- 

ommended applicant who proposed 
organization of an intermediate cor- 
poration to commercialize sound pic- 
tures. On May 27, 1925, Western 
concluded a limited contractual agree- 
ment with Rich for that purpose. 

Levinson arrived at West Street 
with Sam Warner early in June. The 
best description of Sam Warner's re- 
action to the demonstration is to be 
found in the telegram he sent to his 
brother Harry after he had returned 
to Hollywood without telling any of 
his brothers what he had seen and 
heard. That telegram read: 


Harry went. His report of the visit 
was a telegram to his brother Sam. It 


On June 25, 1925, Walter J. Rich 
and the Warner brothers made an 
agreement under which Rich assigned 
to Warner Brothers a half interest in 
his contract with Western, Warner 
Brothers agreeing to furnish the mo- 
tion picture studio, associated equip- 
ment, and necessary personnel for an 
experimental program. 

Following this contract, Western's 
equipment was installed in Warner 
Brothers' Vitagraph studio in Brook- 
lyn. In the experimental period, which 
lasted several months, the Bell System 
engineers worked in close collabora- 
tion with staff men of Warner Broth- 
ers. When all parties to the experi- 
mental arrangement were convinced 
that results justified commercial effort, 
Rich and the Warner brotliers organ- 
ized the Vitaphone Corporation. On 
April 20, 1926, a license agreement 


Twenty Years of 'Talking Movies' 


between Western and Vitaphone was 
concluded. The Vitaphone Corpora- 
tion was authorized to sub-hcense the 
various producers in the motion pic- 
ture industry. 

Warner Brothers thereupon staked 
their all upon the Western Electric 
sound system. The Manhattan Opera 
House was leased for the scoring of 
Don Juan and the making of various 
specialties for the premiere. 

The premiere of Don Juan was 
widely heralded. Warner Brothers' 
New York theatre had been selected 
for the great first night of sound. 
Western Electric engineers and help- 
ers worked for weeks installing the 
necessary equipment. 

Meanwhile, Wente anci A. L. 
Thuras, who had been working on a 
new type of loud-speaker, were able 
to complete its development in time 
for the Don Juan premiere. The new 
speaker had a practically uniform re- 

sponse from two octaves below middle 
C of the piano to about one-half oc- 
tave above the highest note. It was 
from 50 to 100 times as efficient as 
the loud-speakers previously avail- 
able. This contribution by Bell System 
engineers, one of whom had worked 
almost 12 years on the basic elements 
comprising sound pictures, helped in- 
sure the success of that great first 
night whose anniversary is now being 
observed: that first night whose his- 
tory has been recounted here. 

Climax and Beginning 

Don JUAN was the climax of the Bell 
System's part in the development of 
sound motion pictures ; but it was only 
the beginning of the art and the indus- 
try which have grown from it and in 
which Bell Laboratories and Western 
Electric have continued to play an 
important part. 

Much has happened since : the op- 

Western Electric equipment was installed in the old Manhattan Opera House to record 
the sound for the Vitaphone premiere — notably the scoring of Don Juan. This photo- 
graph shows a lull between ''takes" of an operatic ''short'' in which Anna Case sang 

and the Cansinos danced 


Bell Telephone Magazine 

^ John Barrymorei" Don Juan 

y.»»y«/ W'««R mATRE. Bway,, 52-.St r a 


Melfopolitan Opera, Co. Ctiorus 


0?z Broadway in 1^26 

position to sound films by both pro- 
ducers and exhibitors, which in 1928 
suddenly reversed itself and became 
a tremendous demand for equipment; 
the increasing adoption of the sound- 
on-film method of reproduction, which 
is practically universal today; the 
modification of arrangements with 
Warner Brothers and Vitaphone, and 
the establishment of Western's sub- 
sidiary, Electrical Research Products 
Incorporated, in 1926 to handle the 
Company's activities in the sound pic- 
ture field; ERPI's withdrawal from 
the theater equipment field in 1937 
when it licensed other manufacturers ; 
and the further change when in 1941 
it became a division of Western Elec- 
tric; the growth to more than 16,000 
sound-equipped theaters in this coun- 
try today and to nearly three times as 

many in the rest of the world at last 

Those and many other facts are 
matters of recorded history; but the 
history of the last 20 years is beyond 
the scope of this narrative. 

What is set down here is but a salute 
to the pioneers of the industry : to the 
scientists and engineers of Western 
Electric and later of Bell Labora- 
tories, whose recognition and develop- 
ment of certain telephone by-products 
gave the world one of its most popu- 
lar forms of entertainment ; and to the 
Warner brothers — Sam, Harry, Al- 
bert, Jack — and their associates, who 
had the vision and the courage to be- 
come the first producers of commer- 
cially acceptable sound motion pic- 
tures. Together they shared a rich 

Multi-cha7i?iel Radio Teletypewriter Circuits Developed by 

The Bell System and the Signal Corps Were the Backbone 

of Army Communicatio?is with Theaters Overseas 

Command Circuits 

Eldon Nichols 

In the Pentagon Building a Sig- 
nal Corps technician stands before a 
steel table. In his hand is a paper 
tape on which is printed an official 
radiogram. Beneath the printed let- 
ters there are small holes to actuate 
a machine which is blind but has sen- 
sitive fingers of steel. The technician 
inserts one end of the tape in a slot, 
and it rapidly disappears. At the 
same moment a similar tape, bear- 
ing the identical printed message, 
emerges from another slot at Frank- 
furt, Germany. This is only one of 
six messages speeding on their way 
to Frankfurt, and six others are ar- 
riving simultaneously in Washington 
from there. In all, 720 words are 
crossing the Atlantic every minute 
between these two points, over one 
radio circuit. 

From nearby tables, messages are 
making similar flights to London, 
Paris, Algiers, and Asmara; and 
from those points some of them take 
off again for Tehran, Moscow, New 
Delhi, and Chungking. Other mes- 
sages take wire lines to San Francisco 

and then jump directly to Hawaii, 
Manila, or Tokyo. 

Obviously, there is more to this 
than meets the eye. The little ma- 
chine that snatches paper tape from 
the hand of the operator is merely a 
gateway leading into a complex array 
of telegraph, telephone, and radio de- 
vices collectively known as a multi- 
channel radio teletype system. This 
system did not exist before the War. 
It was born in December, 1941, and 
grew to maturity within a few short 
months. Before its first birthday it 
had become the backbone of the vast 
network of overseas radio circuits of 
the Army Communications System. 

Over this system flashed the words 
which General Eisenhower impa- 
tiently awaited — the words which re- 
leased the flood of American might 
that ultimately washed over the 
Westwall and into Berlin. And over 
this system General MacArthur re- 
ceived the green light for the fulfill- 
ment of his two great ambitions — his 
return to Manila and his entry into 
Tokyo as Supreme Commander. 


Bell Telephone Magazine 


The mai}i radio transmitting station i)i Algiers. Directioiial antennas beamed toward 

it were ready for the invasion of North Africa 

Radio' s Advantages 

Such messages as these, of course, 
formed but a small part of the al- 
most incredible total of fifty million 
words a day carried by the great 
Army network. There were requisi- 
tions for urgently needed supplies, 
manifests detailing the cargoes of 
ships, reports of military operations, 
news items from home for the Stars 
and Stripes and the Pacifican, and all 
too often there were long casualty 
lists. All of these messages were es- 
sential to the successful conduct of 
the War — and it is inconceivable that 
they could have been handled without 
radio teletype. 

Radio was chosen as the principal 
medium for overseas war communi- 
cations because of its mobility. Sub- 
marine cables normally carry the bulk 
of the telegraph traffic over a num- 
ber of important routes, such as be- 
tween the United States and Eng- 
land. In wartime, however, cables 
are at a disadvantage except when 

they connect allied nations in areas 
where the enemy is not in a position 
to interrupt them. The invader can 
seldom count on them as a means of 
communication with his bases in the 
rear because his stepping-stones are 
often places of little peacetime im- 
portance which are not reached by 
cables. And if there happens to be 
a cable terminal in the invader's path, 
it is usually destroyed before he 
reaches it. It takes much time and 
skill to lay a new cable or to repair 
an old one, and in waters within the 
range of enemy aircraft or subma- 
rines such work is likely to be both 
costly and uncomfortable. 

¥oR THESE REASONS, radio was the 
more practical medium in most situa- 
tions confronting our forces in World 
War II. But radio has its shortcom- 
ings too, and some of these had to 
be surmounted before it could take 
the leading role. 

Before the War, radio messages 


Command Circuits 


In Lo}idon: Entrance to the Allies' radio control center^ set up under ground because of 

the blitz 

In Paris: The Germans had thoughtfully bomb-proofed this building before it was taken 

over as Allied communications center 


Bell Telephone Magazine 


were usually sent in the dots and 
dashes of the International Morse 
code, either with telegraph keys and 
head receivers or with tape trans- 
mitters and recorders. By the latter 
method, very high speeds can be at- 
tained under ideal radio conditions, 
but often the speed is severely limited 
by weak reception, static, or fading, 
and generally ranges between 20 and 
200 words per minute. For the 
higher speeds, several highly skilled 
operators are required, and the train- 
ing of such an operator usually takes 
from six months to two years. 

Naturally, the obvious benefits to 
be gained by using printing telegraph 
devices, such as the teletypewriter, on 
radio circuits had interested several 
organizations before the War, and 
considerable work had been done in 
this direction. This work had been 

moderately successful, and regular 
operation had been established over 
a few of the more favorable radio 
paths. However, the fading and 
static gremlins had prevented the ex- 
tensive use of "printers" in radio. 

During the Battle of Britain, the 
British Government became fearful 
that the Germans might interrupt sev- 
eral of the cables between the United 
States and England. This would 
throw the entire load on the existing 
radio circuits, most of which were 
subject to interruption in the winter 
months by electromagnetic storms. 
The American Telephone and Tele- 
graph Company and the British Gen- 
eral Post Office jointly operated a 
long-wave radio telephone circuit be- 
tween New York and London. This 
circuit is usually at its best when short 

The Army s multi-channel service gets close attention at the Lo)ig Lines Department's 

telegraph testboard in Washington 


Command Circuits 


waves are at their worst. The Brit- 
ish Post Office therefore proposed a 
plan for establishing several emer- 
gency telegraph channels on this radio 
circuit. Tests were made ; and though 
the channels were far from perfect 
they were well worth while as an 
emergency measure, so the plan was 
adopted, and arrangements were 
made to use it if necessary. Al- 
though this need never arose, an idea 
had been born, and speculation be- 
gan in the Long Lines Department 
as to other possible applications of 
this technique. 

Trill /s Prove Successful 

Suddenly this interesting train of 
thought was turned in a new direc- 
tion by the bombing of Pearl Harbor, 
and our immediate entry into the 
War. The Army would surely need 
overseas communications beyond all 
precedent. Overseas telephone serv- 
ice with enemy-held countries had 
been suspended, leaving high-grade 
radio facilities and expert technicians 
available for other purposes. How 
could these assets be employed to 
meet the Army's need? 

In a small conference at Long 
Lines headquarters in New York, an 
executive asked: "Do you think we 
could operate a voice-frequency car- 
rier telegraph system on a short-wave 
radio circuit, just as we did in the 
British long-wave emergency plan?" 

The first responses to this question 
were discouraging. It was pointed 
out that short-wave signals often vary 
or fade a thousand-fold in strength 
at intervals of only a second or so. 
Long waves are not afflicted by this 
malady, yet the results of the long- 
wave tests had been only fair. But 
someone said, "Well, it wouldn't do 

J Lo)ig Lines overseas radio transmitter 
0)1 the Atlantic coast. Employment of the 
Bell System's experienced civilians at such 
posts released Army technicians for duty 

any harm to make some tests, would 
it?" So it was decided to try, before 
giving up, and within a few davs ex- 
perimental work on the multi-channel 
radio teletype system began. 

xA.lthough far from satisfactory, 
the initial tests showed great prom- 
ise, and stimulated further efforts. 
More men were assigned to the proj- 
ect, and the Bell Telephone Labora- 
tories and the Department of Opera- 
tion and Engineering were invited to 
participate — which they most whole- 
heartedly did. Ideas for improve- 
ment sprang from all sides. Within 
a short time an experimental system 
between New York and San Fran- 
cisco was working so well that the 
power of the radio transmitter in Cal- 


Bell Telephone Magazine 


ifornia could be reduced to only 25 
watts — barely enough to light a small 
lamp — and still good teletype copy 
would be received in New York! 

It was noteworthy that this radi- 
cally new and phenomenally suc- 
cessful system was created almost 
entirely of standard units of Bell Sys- 
tem equipment, thoroughly tried and 
tested by long experience and avail- 
able on short notice. First, there was 
the single-sideband radio transmitter 
and receiver, used for more than a 
decade in overseas telephone service. 
Then there was the voice-frequency 
carrier equipment which had long been 
used in Morse and teletype service. 
And, of course, there were the famil- 
iar teletype machines, used through- 
out the nation for Twx and private 
line service. 

To these basic ingredients, a few- 
simple but highly important additions 
had been made. The result was a 

novel communications system which 
overcame to an almost unbelievable 
extent the effects of fading, static, 
and interference. 

Demonstrating the System 

Within a few weeks the develop- 
ment work had reached the stage 
where success seemed certain, and 
Brigadier General Frank E. Stoner, 
Chief of the Army Communications 
Service (later a Major General and 
Assistant Chief Signal Officer), was 
invited to inspect the experimental 
system. His reaction was not only 
favorable but enthusiastic, and he re- 
quested that a plan for the use of 
the system in the Army be submitted 
for consideration. 

This plan, which was promptly fur- 
nished, proposed that the Long Lines 
Department provide the radio and 
carrier facilities in the United States, 

Overseas radio receiving equipment in California. Long Lines provided the radio 

statio)is ajid the chatniels to the Signal Cotters i}i IVashijigtoji and San Fra}icisco^ ivhile 

the Aruiy enjoyed full operational coiitrol of the niovenieiit of its traffic 


Command Circuits 


together with wire line telegraph 
channels between the Long Lines ra- 
dio stations and the Army Signal 
Centers in Washington and San Fran- 
cisco, and that the Signal Corps pur- 
chase corresponding equipment from 
Western Electric for installation at 
Army headquarters overseas. Thus, 
the Army would have full operational 
control over the movement of traffic, 
sending and receiving all messages 
with its own personnel in the War 
Department; yet it would be relieved 
of the necessity of building radio sta- 
tions in the United States, and expert 
civilians would take the place of 
Army radio technicians, releasing 
them for duty elsewhere. 

It was further proposed that serv- 
ice be established at a very early date 
between Washington and European 
Theater headquarters in England by 
obtaining the cooperation of the Brit- 
ish General Post Office in London. 
This organization, which had initi- 
ated the long-wave emergency plan, 
was known to have the major items 
of equipment required, as well as ex- 
cellent engineering talent. 

These proposals were placed before 
Major General Dawson Olmstead, 
then Chief Signal Officer, and were 
quickly accepted. Engineers, Instal- 
lers, and technicians on both sides of 
the Atlantic rolled up their sleeves, 
and on the desired date, July 18, 
1942, the London system was on the 
air. Meanwhile, the manufacture of 
a number of complete terminals, spe- 
cially arranged in transportable cabi- 
nets for installation by Signal Corps 
men overseas, had been started by 
Western Electric and was well under 

Finding Personnel for the 
Overseas Installations 

The difficulty of selecting and 
training technical personnel for the 
overseas installations was recognized 
at the outset. To help solve this 
problem, the names and last known 
locations of about 60 Army officers 
and enlisted men, on military leave 
of absence from the Bell System, 
were given to the Army. These men 
were known to have excellent back- 
grounds for further training in the 
technical features of the multi-chan- 
nel system. The importance the 
Army attacheci to the project is at- 
tested by the fact that nearly all of 
these men were promptly released 
from their current assignments. Even 
a captain assigned to the Air Forces 
and wearing pilot's wings was in- 

An intensive six-week training 
course was quickly organized, and 
officers and enlisted men were hur- 
ried to Long Lines headquarters in 
New York, where a school was 
opened. First the students were 
given lectures on the theory of the 
system, and practical experience with 
the terminal equipment. Then they 
were hurried off to Long Lines ra- 
dio stations at Lawrenceville, Ocean 
Gate, Netcong, and Manahawkin for 
further training on radio transmit- 
ters and receivers. This school was 
so successful that it was continued 
through nearly the entire duration of 
the War and. In all, 394 men were 

These men attracted such favor- 
able attention overseas that a num- 
ber of them were taken out of the 
multi-channel teams after their instal- 
lations were completed, and were 


Bell Telephone Magazine 



Hk \. 


^tatio)i W A R, M'^ashitigto}!. In this seciion of the Sig?/a/ Corps' message center, 
messages are being punched on tapes for automatic trayismissioji 

placed in other important assign- 
ments. Initially each team was led 
by a captain, but all of these team 
captains and several of their subordi- 
nates were later promoted into the 
field grades, and the ex-pilot became 
a colonel. 

For '''■Asmara^'' Read 

^'■Algiers'' Instead 

By rushing the manufacturing work 
and by diverting equipment originally 
ordered for other purposes, Western 
Electric soon completed the first units 
for installation overseas. Since Long 
Lines was providing the equipment in 
the United States, including highly 
directional antennas beamed accu- 
rately toward the corresponding over- 
seas station, close coordination was 
essential; yet in some cases the need 
for secrecy was great. In one in- 
stance this conflict between coordina- 
tion and secrecy Ictl to an ingenious 

The Army confided to a few Long 
Liners that one of the first installa- 

tions would be in Asmara, East Af- 
rica, and requested that antennas 
aimed at that point be constructed. 
This was done, but meanwhile an- 
other unit had been shipped, to an un- 
known destination. As time passed, 
a Long Lines official became con- 
cerned lest this second shipment 
might arrive at its destination and 
be readv for service before the an- 
tennas in the United States were 
built. Almost dailv he called this 
situation to the attention of a Signal 
Corps officer in Washington, who al- 
ways replied: "Don't worry, we'll 
give you time enough." 

On the morning following the an- 
nouncement to the world of the inva- 
sion of North Africa, the officer tele- 
phoned the Long Lines man. "We 
are going to start service soon with a 
new point," he said. "You can use 
the antennas you have already built. 
Look at the globe near your desk 
and I think you can guess the name 
of the place." 

]^xamination of the globe showed 


Command Circuits 


another point, almost exactly "on the 
beam" between Washington and As- 
mara, That point was Algiers. The 
secret had been kept — yet the anten- 
nas were ready. 

Soon Long Lines technicians were 
waiting anxiously, hoping that the 
men and equipment had arrived 
safely, and wondering when Algiers 
would be on the air. They did not 
wait long. A voice said: "This is 
Freedom testing," and presently mes- 
sages direct from Eisenhower's new 
headquarters were pouring into the 
great Signal Center in the Pentagon, 
which is aptly named Radio Station 


Asmara, iiowever, had not been 
named for deception alone. A sys- 
tem to that point was established 
soon afterward. Direct radio trans- 

mission between Washington and 
points as far east as Tehran and New 
Delhi is only feasible during a very 
short period in each day. Asmara 
served as an important relay station, 
insuring rapid and reliable communi- 
cation with the Persian Gulf Com- 
mand and the China-Burma-India 

Other installations followed rap- 
idly. When it was decided that the 
major effort of the Allied Forces 
would be directed across the Channel 
instead of in southern Europe, a team 
and equipment already in the Medi- 
terranean were quickly shipped out 
through Gibraltar and up to England 
to augment the facilities planned for 
France. A system was established 
between London and Algiers, creat- 

Here Sig>ial Corps personnel are attending the automatic transmitting (foreground) 

and receiving machines 

I lO 

Bell Telephone Magazine 


'\^i^ii)iiis^\ ./ coiiiplett' (■u»i)nuni(.uti(j>is unit, equipped as a mobile statioti to keep 

pace with Headquarters as it moved forward 

ing a triangle whose apexes were 
Washington, London, and Algiers, 
and providing an alternative route 
between any two of these points. A 
second system, with Signal Corps 
equipment in England, was set up 
between Washington and London, 
and before D-Day a capacity of more 
than a million words a day was avail- 
able over direct channels between 
these two great capitals. 

The Mobile ''Sigcircus'' 

Wkll in advance of D-Day, three 
complete units were made ready for 
use on the European continent. One 
of these was to be held In reserve as 
protection against possible combat 
losses. The others would permit 
"leap-frogging." One of them would 
be Installed at main headquarters. 
Then, as soon as a forward echelon 
had been established, the second unit 
would be Installed there. When main 
headquarters moved up to the for- 

ward echelon location, the unit left 
in the rear would be dismantled and 
made ready to "leap-frog" forward 
to a new location. To facilitate these 
moves, one of the equipments was in- 
stalled, near Paris, In a complete mo- 
bile station mounted in i8 trucks and 
trailers, ready to move forward Into 
Germany. In accordance with the 
Signal Corps practice of using the 
prefix "SKJ" on certain knuls of equip- 
ment, this caravan was dubbed "Sig- 

Plans for the future employment 
of the multi-channel units were made 
and revised continually to meet 
changes in the strategic situation. 
With the "drying up" of North Af- 
rica and the establishment of a firm 
foothold In France, the London- 
Algiers system was no longer needed. 
But the War In the l^acIHc was ad- 
vancing at a faster pace, and more 
tacilitles were needed there. So the 
Algiers terminal was shipped back 



Command Circuits 


to Western Electric, reconditioned, 
reshipped, and finally was installed in 

This was by no means the only in- 
stallation of multi-channel equipment 
in the Pacific. The first system had 
been placed in operation in Brisbane, 
Australia, in March 1943, and re- 
mained in service there until the sum- 
mer of 1945, when it was dismantled 
and "leap-frogged" northward to 
meet a need for service much farther 
forward — in Tokyo. 

Three terminals were installed in 
Hawaii in bomb-proof tunnels built 
shortly after the Pearl Harbor dis- 
aster. Two of these worked with 
San Francisco, the third with Guam. 
In addition to the usual Army traffic, 
some channels of these systems were 
extended to Navy headquarters, one 

Ulterior of one of the trailers shown i)i the 
preceding picture 

was used for air traffic control, and 
others made it possible for the Joint 
Chiefs of Staff to maintain almost 
instantaneous contact with the Twen- 
tieth Air Force units whose swarms 
of B-29S reduced Japanese industry 
to ashes. "Bombs away" signals 
from B-29S over Japan were picked 
up at Guam and flashed on to Wash- 
ington so quickly that it is likely that 
the news reached the Pentagon be- 
fore the first bomb struck the target. 

^^ Sigcirau' Afoat 

The rough terrain and transpor- 
tation difficulties experienced early in 
the New Guinea campaign pointed to 
the need for more mobile equipment. 
But mobile installations like the "Sig- 
circus" caravan used in Europe would 
have been useless in lands where 
roads were mountainous or non- 
existent. So the Signal Corps went 
to sea. x\ complete "Seaborne Com- 
munications Center" was built in 
two large barges, one containing 
the radio transmitter and the other 
the receiver and terminal equipment. 
These barges, together with two 
others housing less complex equip- 
ment for shorter circuits, and a 
mother ship with quarters for tech- 
nical and operating personnel, were 
first moored in Humboldt Bay, near 
HoUandia, New Guinea. , 

Here again the leap-frogging tech- 
nique was used. The barges were 
planned to arrive at a new headquar- 
ters as soon as possible, to furnish 
communications until land-based sta- 
tions could be built. Then the barges 
were released and towed forward. 
In this manner the Signal Corps 
"navy" moved on from Hollandia to 
Manila, and then to Tokyo — the last 


Bell Telephone Magazifie 


! 1 













"Sigcinus'" afloat: the Sig- 
)ial Corps' complete "Sea- 
borne Communications 
Center' used in the Pacific. 
Right: Teletypewriter 
equipmeyit installed iii one 
of the barges 

of the series of islanels that once hat! 
seemed endless. 

New Developments 

Inventive minds found the multi- 
channel system to be an excellent 
springboard for new ideas. "Top 
secret" or even "restricted" radio- 
gram^ must be encrypted to conceal 
their contents from enemy eyes. Ini- 
tially this was a tedious job which 
took much time and labor. Ways 
were found to do this work auto- 
matically and instantaneously, and 
with the requisite security. 

Another development was a tele- 
typewriter conference service to meet 
the occasional need for instantaneous 
"back-and-forth" communication, In 

which questions and answers could be 
exchanged rapidly. For this pur- 
pose, special teletypewriters in pri- 
vate rooms were connected to an 
overseas channel, and staff officers at 
each terminal exchanged questions, 
answers, and information. Over a 
direct connection of this kind betw^een 
a crude shelter in New Guinea and a 
luxurious room during the Roosevelt- 
Churchill conference in Quebec, Gen- 
eral MacArthur set the date for the 
invasion of the Philippines. 

It was also found possible to trans- 
mit telephotographs over the system 
without interrupting or interfering 
with teletype traffic, and many of the 
best Signal Corps news photographs 
reached the American press in this 


Command Circuits 


way, only a few hours after the click 
of the camera. 

Extensions of the System 

A Signal Corps officer felt that It 
should be possible to build a jeep-like 
radio teletype system which would 
use some of the principles of the 
multi-channel system to provide a 
single channel for use on secondary 
routes. The Department of Opera- 
tion and Engineering and the Bell 
Laboratories studied this problem 
and submitted plans and designed a 
system. Then, in June 1943, the 
first single-channel system was rushed 
into service between Miami, Florida, 
and Boriquen Field, Puerto Rico. 

So successful was this system that 
several hundred of them were manu- 
factured and installed at top speed. 
War Department circuits to oversea 
commands such as those in Panama, 
Trinidad, Brazil, and Central Africa 
were quickly converted to teletype op- 
eration. So were the circuits between 
the several Theater Headquarters 
and their subordinate bases. Exten- 
sions from Asmara to New Delhi 
and thence to Brisbane and Manila 
completed the girdling of the globe. 

Since all messages were received in 
the form of a printed and perforated 
tape, it was a simple matter to relay 
a message on to another distant point, 
over either a wire or radio teletype 
circuit, without retyping. Thus a 
multitude of wire and radio circuits 
throughout the world were integrated 
into a single efficient communications 
system : the Army Command and Ad- 
ministrative Network. A request for 
a critically needed airplane part could 
be typed at an airfield in China, re- 
layed at New Delhi, Asmara, and 

Washington, and received at Wright 
Field, Ohio, all within a matter of 

At each of the now famous "Big 
Three" conferences, radio teletype 
service with Washington and the rest 
of the world was available within a 
few steps of the conference room. 
Even in such far-off places as Cairo 
and Tehran, President Roosevelt, 
General Marshall, and others of the 
American delegation were in close 
touch with Washington and with our 
commanders in the theaters of war. 
Every day they received voluminous 
reports of the current military situa- 
tion on all fronts. 

Radio teletype needed no sales- 
man. Whenever a communications 
officer saw it in action, he instantly 
saw other applications for it within 
his own field. The initial single- 
channel circuit between Miami and 
Puerto Rico soon became a link in an 
independent worldwide network op- 
erated by the Army Airways Com- 
munications System for the control 
of planes flying the air transport 
routes. Air Forces used radio tele- 
type for the coordination of long- 
range bombing missions from widely 
separated bases. A channel between 
Washington and Moscow gave these 
nerve centers dependable communica- 
tion for both diplomatic and military 
traffic. And still demands for addi- 
tional circuits arose daily. 

An Important Contribution 
to the War Effort ^,.g :* 

Only the collapse of Japan brought 
this expansion to an end. Then 
reconversion began. Multi-channel 
equipment no longer needed overseas 
was installed in the Army stations at 


Bell Telephone Magazi?ie 


Contrasts: The City Hall 
in Manila {left). After 
heavy shelling during the 
recapture of the city, it be- 
came the Americayi Head- 
quarters and message cen- 
ter. The buildi)ig fronting 
on the palace moat in 
Tokyo {below) is now the 
Headquarters and message 
center of the Supreme Com- 
mander for the Allied 

1946 Command Circuits 115 

Washington and San Francisco to op- In a presidential citation which ac- 
erate with occupation forces and per- companied the award of the Medal 
manent bases. The Long Lines facil- for Merit to President Walter S. Gif- 
ities were released, and were quickly ford of A. T. & T., radio teletype 
returned to their post-war task of was given a prominent place as one 
furnishing overseas telephone serv- of the Bell System's most important 
ice. They were to be kept busy for contributions to the war effort. Its 
many months to come, carrying calls development had enabled the Signal 
between thousands of lonely service- Corps, during the most difficult pe- 
men overseas and their folks at riod in its history, to live up to two 
home.* important slogans : "Get the Message 
Through," and "Security, Accuracy, 

* See "Three-Minute Furloughs," Magazine, j r j m 

Spring 1946. and Speed. 

The scientists at the Bell Telephone Laboratories . . . 
were handed the job of focussing radio micro-waves into a 
narrow beam to transmit the impulses of sight and sound from 
one place to another. These micro-waves, you see, have a 
habit of shooting off in all directions, going on and on out 
beyond the horizon into the wild blue yonder. The problem 
was to herd them together so that, literally, they would "stay 
on the beam" over the distance that separates the relay stations. 
That was no small task when you realize that beams sharper 
than a searchlight are needed. 

But — the problem was solved. Bell Laboratories scientists 
designed a metal letts which can focus these micro-waves much 
as a magnifying glass collects the sun's rays to burn a hole in 
a piece of paper. With this new lens, the micro-waves can be 
focussed into the sharpest beam of its kind ever produced, so 
that radio photos, radio broadcasts, and television may be trans- 
mitted more clearly, and with freedom from static and other 

Bell Laboratories' scientists and their associates explore every 
scientific held which offers hope of bettering communications. 
That's one big reason why your telephone service has continued 
to improve throughout the years. And why it will be even 
better as time goes on. 

Front an atiuonncenient on the "Telephone Hour" radio program 

The Special Know/edge^ Skills^ and Form of Organisation 

Of the Bell System s Research Unit Contributed in Ma?iy 

Ways to the Prosecution of the War 

Bell Laboratories' Role 

in Victory 

Part II 

Editors' note: Several of the Laboratories' major contri- 
butions to the Allied Nations' victory over the Axis 
powders were described under the above title in the pre- 
ceding (Spring) issue of this Magazine. The follovring 
paragraphs, compiled after a survey of all the Labora- 
tories' many and varied war-time projects, summarize as 
much of the rest of the story as may be told within the 
limits of military security. 

During World War I, a group of 
Bell Telephone Laboratories men 
had been active in studies of under- 
water sound; and when the clouds of 
World War II gathered, their suc- 
cessors began to think along the same 
lines. When the Laboratories en- 
tered the SONAR program, the great- 
est need was for precise methods of 
measuring underwater sound, a field 
in which little quantitative work had 
been done. Yet this was an impor- 
tant aspect, for precise measurement 
is a fundamental factor in good de- 
velopment and design of any equip- 
ment. With their broad experience 

in the measurement of ordinary sound 
in the development of telephony. Lab- 
oratories engineers undertook investi- 
gations which laid the groundwork 
for the standardization and improve- 
ment of sonar techniques. 

In 1941 and 1942 they established 
the first lake calibration stations, one 
in New Jersey and the other in Flor- 
ida. These were later taken over by 
the National Defense Research Com- 
mittee as the national standardizing 
laboratories for underwater sound. 

Sonar locates hostile submarines 
by projecting a beam of vibrations 
through the water and observing the 

Bell Laboratories^ Role in Victory 


Above: the "Elcovee,^^ a floating 
laboratory used in the develop- 
ment of sonar 

Right: How the sonar ''antenna' 
is lowered and retracted 


time and direction of the echo. The 
principle is the same as that of radar 
but the vibrations are of water mole- 
cules, and the frequencies are meas- 
ured In tens of thousands Instead of 
millions. Most difficult part of the 
job was to devise a transducer, a de- 
vice to convert electrical vibrations to 
mechanical and vice versa. The Lab- 
oratories developed a synthetic piezo- 
electric crystal for this, and with 
Western Electric worked out a pro- 
cedure to make it In very large quan- 

Another contribution was a dome 
to be attached to the ship's hull to 
house the transducer. Its stream- 
lining and other features minimized 
noise pick-up — a very important fac- 
tor. About three-score different 
transducers were designed for spe- 
cial uses. 

Equally important was the Lab- 
oratories' contribution in the form 
of good design of the sonar circuits, 
which generated the high frequencies, 
broke them up into pulses, timed the 
returning pulses and directed them 

Sonar equipment developed for installation 
aboard ship 


Bell Telephone Magazine 


The relay computer used by the Army to perform complicated mathematical computa- 
tions. Note the ''problem'" tapes on the rack at the right 

into the Indicating circuits. Sonars of 
Laboratories' design were installed 
on every type of naval ship. 

The thoroughness and versatility 
of the Laboratories' sonar develop- 
ment work were demonstrated when, 
midway through the war, its scien- 
tists were called upon to change com- 
pletely the emphasis of their investi- 
gations. During the first part of the 
war, the problem had been one en- 
tirely of using sonar to combat Ger- 
man U-boats. With the winning of 
the Battle of the Atlantic, the empha- 
sis changed to the Pacific theater, 
where Allied submarines were in the 
position that German underseas craft 
had occupied in the Atlantic; that is, 
using sonar on submarines to attack 
merchantmen and warships. 

Circuits have always been one of 
the Laboratories' special interests. 
Some years before the war, a scien- 
tist and an engineer teamed up to 
develop a circuit that would do sums 
in arithmetic. Starting with a prob- 
lem typed on a keyboard, the relays 
would click for a few seconds and 
out would come the answer, neatly 

During the war, a need arose for 
hundreds of computations of the path 3I 
taken by an anti-aircraft shell, in or- 
der to check the performance of the 
electrical gun director. A computer 
made up of relays and teletypewriters 
was developed, and one was built for 
the Army and one for the Navy. 
These computers employ a punched 
tape to direct the apparatus, tape on 


Bell Laboratories' Role in Victory 


which the problem is recorded, and 
other tapes carrying such tables as 
sines and logarithms. The machine 
will run for hours unattended. If it 
spots an obvious mistake which makes 
a problem insoluble, it will make a 
note and pass on to the next problem. 

A PROBLEM of another kind is posed 
by an airplane in flight. Given a sud- 
den updraft, the pilot will "nose 
down" to maintain altitude; the plane 
will pick up speed, and so on. Many 
of these variables are indicated on 
instruments, and the skilled "instru- 
ments" flyer can hold an even course 
by their aid. To teach the art, a 
number of "trainers" had been built 
which were "mock-ups" of an air- 
plane, with linkages — mostly mechan- 
ical — between the instructor, the in- 
struments, and the control. 

With the desire to set up a work- 
ing replica of a medium bomber 
which would provide training for a 
flight crew of five, the Navy asked 
the Laboratories to develop an all- 

The flight instructor can create conditions 

within the t}-ai>ier which simulate those 

found aloft 

electrical trainer. Preliminary work 
for the circuit engineers involved a 
study of aerodynamics, and the work- 
ing out of equations which would 
connect throttle opening, propeller 
pitch, elevator setting, and plane load 
with rate of climb — to name only one 
set of relations. When installed in a 
stationary mock-up of the airplane 
interior, complete with noise and vi- 

Telephoyie relays., vacuum tubes, and switches 
{below) interconnect the controls and instruments of 
the flight trainer. Right: Pilot and co-pilot, at the 
controls of the Navy trainer, can ejicounter all the 
problems — and most of the sensations — met i>i 

actual flight 


Bell Telephone Magazine 


bration, the effect was so realistic that 
more than one experienced flyer left 
the ship in a sweat after the in- 
structor had given him a real work- 

As MIGHT be expected, the Labora- 
tories' long experience with vacuum 
tubes was of great value to the war 
effort. Out of all the electronic de- 
velopment which was going on, one 
small but dramatic incident emerges. 
A group of repeater stations had 
been captured in Germany, intact ex- 
cept for the tubes. Signal Corps 
men, ransacking employees' lockers, 
had found one tube which fitted the 
sockets. In a few days that tube was 
in the Laboratories; in three days 
more, eight replicas had been built 
and were on their way to the front 
for service tests. 

Western Electric did not wait for 

results to filter back, however; they 
turned out a thousand tubes in three 
weeks. Confidence In the Labora- 
tories was well rewarded; the design 
was right, and the tubes restored 
service on an Important European ca- 
ble route. 

One of the Laboratories' earliest 
concerns was to eke out the supply 
of scarce materials by providing sub- 
stitutes. One acute shortage was In 
tin; the metallurgists reduced the tin 
content in solder and developed new 
procedures to make good joints with 
this tricky alloy. Rubber was re- 
placed by synthetics, of which the 
rubber chemists had wide knowledge. 
The zinc die casting of the combined 
telephone set was replaced by a plas- 
tic molding, again based on accumu- 
lated knowledge. Mica had been se- 
lected for capacitors on the basis of its 
appearance; feeling that much good 
mica was being rejected, physicists 
worked out electrical tests which 
proved so much mica usable that the 
shortage was alleviated. 

Early in the war, when coastal cities 
were seriously concerned about air 
raids, the Laboratories was asked to 
develop a powerful warning siren. 
The one It produced had an engine- 
driven blower, a rotor or "chopper" 
driven by a second engine, and a sex- 
tuple horn to deliver the interrupted 
puff to the air. One was installed on 
the highest building In Radio City, 
New York, and several more in other 

As A SUPPLEMENT to wire circuits in 
the communications zone, the Lab- 
This replica of a German vacuum tube was oratories developed a micro-wave ra- 
produced in the Laboratories in three days Jio system operatmg at about 5,000 


Bell Laboratories' Role in Victory 


When mica was selected on the 

basis of electrical tests {above) ^ 

rather than of appearance^ much 

more was found to be usable. 

Right: A Western Electric worker 
adjusts silvered mica capacitors 

It produces the loudest man-made sustained noise: the Laboratories' air-raid warning 
siren, shown here on its way to a roof-top installation 


Bell Telephone Magazine 


megacycles. At that frequency, the 
waves behave like those of light, and 
a clear straight-line path is required. 
Waves are directed into a concen- 
trated beam by a parabolic reflector 
and concentrated into the receiving 
system by a similar reflector. At 
both ends the reflectors are raised on 
light portable towers which are pref- 
erably mounted on hilltops. A num- 
ber of these systems were built by the 
Western Electric Company, and were 
installed near the end of the war in 
South Germany and functioned well; 
one link was over lOO miles long, 
from Heidelberg to the Zugspitze. 
Usually, however, links are about 
thirty miles long. Systems of this 
type are now in Bell System service, 
linking Nantucket and Catalina Is- 
lands to the mainland. 

Many telephone devices, such as re- 
lays, operate at speeds too high for 
the eye to follow. Motion pictures, 
taken at high speed and slowed down 
in projection, form a "time micro- 
scope" which has been valuable in 

studies of relays, ringers, handset 
breakage and the like. So useful 
proved a high-speed camera devel- 
oped in the Laboratories that West- 
ern Electric marketed it under the 
name of "Fastax." In one form it 
uses 1 6 mm. film and operates as fast 
as 4,000 pictures a second; in another 
form it uses 35 mm. film for a wider 
picture. This camera has had wide 
application to war work. So well did 
"Fastax" perform on atomic bomb 
researches that about 60 cameras re- 
corded the test at Bikini this summer, 


J H ijcruumy: a relay point o>i a nncro-ivavc radio system. Several of these systems 
were used by American forces .^ and proved very satisfactory 


Bell Laboratories' Role in Victory 






On the Pacific coast: Mainland antennas of the new peacetime radio telephone installa- 
tion to Catalina Island 

with an engineer from the Labora- 
tories on hand to service them. 

For some years the Laboratories 
has been interested in the thermistor, 
a device whose resistance changes 
rapidly with change in temperature. 
Since resistance can be measured with 
great accuracy, the thermistor could 
be the heart of an instrument to meas- 
ure extremely small changes in tem- 
perature. Devices were worked out 
which could be used to detect ships, 
vehicles, and even men at a few hun- 
dred feet by the difference in tem- 
perature between them and their en- 

One of the pre-war problems in 
micro-waves had been to detect ex- 
tremely minute amounts of such en- 
ergy. The vacuum tube was unsuit- 
able because its own noise level was 

too high. Recalling the crystal de- 
tector of the early days of radio, the 
engineers studied and developed it 
into a thoroughly reliable device. 
They learned how to make the crys- 
talline silicon, and even what impuri- 
ties were important. When radar 
came along, the crystal detector was 

The "aerial doodle-bug" for find- 
ing and tracking submerged enemy 
submarines was developed by the 
Laboratories in conjunction with the 
Naval Ordnance Laboratorv and is 
expected to find important peace- 
time application in aerial prospecting 
for oil and mineral deposits. This 
airborne magneto-meter has been 
credited with being an Important 
weapon In the crucial struggle against 
enemy submarines, because It could 
detect the great masses of iron in 


Bell Telephone Magazine 


submarines when they were sub- 
merged too deeply for ordinary aerial 

In its peacetime application it pro- 
vides the means for a quick large- 
scale survey of geological structure 
of the earth's surface, and thereby 
may provide clues for the discovery 

of new oil and mineral deposits. For 
this sort of work it has been com- 
bined with SHORAN, a radar mapping 
device, and special mapping cameras. 

A MAGNETIC FUZE for mines was an- 
other development of the Laborato- 
ries, and about 1 2,000 mines equipped 
with it were dropped by airplane in 
shallow water in Japanese shipping 
lanes. The magnetic fuze was based 
on the Laboratories' earlier invention 
of permalloy, an alloy which is re- 
markably sensitive to magnetism. As 
a mine lay on the bottom, the perm- 
alloy in the fuze responded to the 
change in magnetism when a ship 
passed within lethal range. The fuze 
was so designed that it could count off 
and pass the first ship or several ships 
in a convoy and blow up the next one 
to pass. Mines equipped with this 
fuze destroyed about 300,000 tons 
of shipping, and many more tons 
were neutralized by fear of the mines. 


How a rocket flies {left): pictures taken at the rate of 4^000 per second. Right: A 
Fastax camera in the laboratory^ about to photograph dial telephone switching equipment 

which moves faster than the human eye can see 


Bell Laboratories' Role in Victory 


A thermistor bolometer^ useful in measur- 
ing minute changes in temperature 

To USE highly technical develop- 
ments effectively in combat required 
that they be handled and serviced by 
skilled men. Shortly after Pearl 
Harbor, the Services directed the 
Laboratories to set up a school for 
war training In which key men would 
be prepared to train others in mili- 
tary schools. A few maintenance 
men were also to be trained, to care 
for the first equipments until the mili- 
tary schools' trainees were available. 
The first class started in April 1942, 
and from then until the end of the war 
a stream of trainees went through the 
school. They ranged from radio 
repairmen fresh from their work 
benches to graduate engineering offi- 
cers who had had months of training 
at Massachusetts Institute of Tech- 
nology. There was a steady proces- 
sion of apparatus, too. Nearly every 
radar developed by the Laboratories 
appeared In the School — frequently 
Serial No. i, just off the production 
line. For each equipment there was 
a special textbook, often written by 
the school's faculty. In all, some 125 
courses were given to a total of 4,400 

The Laboratories was often drawn 
upon for technical or administrative 
skill to serve the Forces as civilians. 
Numerous committees had Labora- 
tories men as members or chairmen; 
several men had long leaves of ab- 
sence. About eighty men went over- 
seas, some of them on lengthy assign- 
ments to act as technical advisers; 
others on shorter investigations. 

Gather together a group of ex- ^ ^-/-^^^ ^^.^^^^/ -^^ ^^ ^^/^,^ (^^.,^^/y 
perlenced people of outstanding qual- enlarged). It was important in radar 


Bell Telephone Magazine 

An airborne 
otherwise known 
as an aerial 
doodlebug. Sus- 
pended below a 
plane, it hmited 
out submarines 
beneath the sur- 

ity and specialized skills and of nat- 
urally cooperative instincts, infuse 
them with the spirit that disregards 
working hours, and there follows an 
output of new technical tools of war 
far beyond what anyone could have 

predicted. As their friends and as- 
sociates return from fighting fronts, 
the men and women who staffed the 
Laboratories are proud to hear of 
the performance of the tools they 
contributed to Democracy's arsenal. 


At the Laboratories' school for war training, some 12^ courses were given to 

a total of 4,400 men 

"Now We Are All Happy 


In the Magazine for Winter 
1944-45, "More and Better Tele- 
phone Service for Farmers" outlined 
the Bell System's program for rural 
expansion — which has been making 
great strides ahead since the advent 
of peace. The following letter, writ- 
ten to a rural development representa- 
tive in Georgia, expresses what the 
extension of service means to one fam- 
ily to w^hich the telephone has but 
recently reached out : 

"I have always loved telephones 
and have dreamed since childhood of 
having one in our home. . . . When 
I first went away to school, I wished 
we had a telephone. Then when I 
started working away from home I 
began to realize how very much tele- 
phone service was needed. But it 
was on my return from overseas serv- 
ice in World War II as a Wac that 
I felt this need the most. 

"The minute I landed in the 
United States I wanted so much to 
call my family, to hear my mother's 
and daddy's voices. I felt sad when 
other Wacs and soldiers were lining 
up to call home. I could only send a 
telegram, which could not be an- 
swered for security reasons. I defi- 
nitely decided I would have a tele- 

phone installed in our home at the 
first opportunity. 

"On April 30, 1946, my dreams 
came true, and our telephone was in- 
stalled in spite of the fact that mother 
and daddy could not agree with me 
that we needed one. They said they 
had gotten along without one for 75 
years and asked, 'Why get one now?' 
Their ages alone present one reason 
for the need. 

"The first night after our service 
was connected, I placed chairs for 
mother and daddy at the telephone 
and my sister and I stood while we 
called every member of our big fam- 
ily: a brother and family in Birming- " 
ham, Ala., a brother and family in 
Washington, D. C, a sister and fam- 
ily in Atlanta, Ga., and a brother and 
family in Decatur, Ga. 

"It w^is quite a thrill to see moth- 
er's and daddy's faces brighten up as 
they heard each voice. It was a pic- 
ture I shall never forget. 

"After the calls were completed, I 
asked mother and daddy how they 
felt about having a telephone now. 
They answered smilingly. 'It seems 
as though we have seen each one of 
our children.' 

"That sold them, and now we are 
all happy we have telephone service." 

On the Matter of Reports 

To DO OUR WORK, we all have to 
read a mass of papers. Nearly all of 
them are far too long. This wastes 
time, while energy has to be spent 
in looking for the essential points. I 
ask my colleagues and their staffs to 
see to it that their reports are shorter. 

(i) The aim should be reports 
which set out the main points 

in a series of short, crisp para- 

(ii) If a report relies on detailed 
analysis of some complicated 
factors, or on statistics, these 
should be set out in an ap- 

(iii) Often the occasion is best met 
by submitting not a full dress 
report, but an aide-memoire 


Bell Telephone Magazine 

consisting of headings only, 
which can be expanded orally 
if needed. 
(iv) Let us have an end of such 
phrases as these: "It is also of 
importance to bear in mind the 
following considerations," or 
"Consideration should be given 
to the possibility of carrying 
into effect." Most of these 
woolly phrases are mere pad- 
ding, which can be left out al- 
together, or replaced by a sin- 

gle word. Let us not shrink 
from using the short expressive 
phrase, even if it is conversa- 

Reports drawn up on the lines I 
propose may at first seem rough as 
compared with the flat surface of of- 
ficialese jargon. But the saving of 
time will be great, while the disci- 
pline of setting out the real points 
concisely will prove an aid to clear 

Winston Churchill 

It takes time and money and the patient efiFort of supervisors 
to inform employees of the reasons behind routines and about 
the fundamental policies of the company, and about anything 
else which they are likely to be asked by the public. Yet with- 
out adequate knowledge to answer, they cannot make the com- 
pany appear reasonable and it is more difficult for them to be 
polite and helpful. To have such knowledge spread down 
through the ranks of an organization means that from the fore- 
man up to the top management, all supervisors must look upon 
the process as one vital to the success of the business. Being 
reasonable and polite to the public must be done by the com- 
pany as a whole. It is not a gesture — it is a way of life. 

From "The Bell Telephone System," by Arthur ff. Page, Vice 
President, A. T. ^ T. Co. Harper <ff Brothers, publishers, IQ41. 

fifno u\^\. V ' lar M y t^ff&uof X fif CO 

.j^uiumu I u^ (J 


Hiring a Quarter of a Million Women • Raymond A. Steelman 

The Bell System's Progress in Television Networks • Laurance G. 
Woodford, Keith S. McHugh, and Oliver E. Buckley 

"Service to the Nation in Peace and War" • William H. Harrison 

Damaged Telephone Cables Send Their Own Alarms • Leon W. Germain 

Philadelphia Goes "2-3'' • Harold S. LeDuc 

Telephones in the Post-War World • James R. McGowan 

mn'Jelephone &-n:ele^aph Combanv 'Nao' 

Bell Telephon€/k«^^ 

Autumn 1946 

Hiring a Quarter of a Million Women, Raymond A. Steehnan, 133 

The Bell System's Progress in Television Networks, Laurance G. 
iroodford, Keith S. McHugh, and Oliver E. Buckley, 147 

"Service to the Nation in Peace and War," JFilliam H. Harrison, 159 

Farewell to WEAK, Keith S. McHugh, 162 

Damaged Telephone Cables Send Their Own Alarms, 
Leon TV. Germain, 163 

Footnotes to American History, 174 

Philadelphia Goes "2-5," Harold S. LeDuc, 175 

Telephones in the Post-War World, James R. McGowan, 183 

Notes on Mobile Radio Service, H. I. Phillips, 186 

''The ideal and ai?n of the American Telephone and Telegraph Company and its Associated 
Companies is a telephone service for the nation, free, so far as humanly possible, from 
imperfections, errors, or delays, and enabling anyone anywhere to pick up a telephone 
and talk to anyone else anywhere else, clearly, quickly and at a reasonable cost.'' 

A Medium of Suggestion ^ a Record of Progress 

Published for the supervisory forces of the Bell System by the Info7'mation Department of 
American Telephone and Telegraph Co., ig^ Broadway, New York 7, A'". Y. 
Walter S. Gifford, Pres.; Carroll O. Bickelhaupt, Sec; Donald R. Belcher, Treas. 

Who's Who & What's What 

in This Issue 

Stupendous undertakings seem to be 
the order of the Bell System's post-war 
day, and among them is the important one 
which Raymond A. Steelman describes 
in this issue's first article: employing an 
unprecedented 250,000 women in a single 
year. On November 20 Mr. Steelman ob- 
served the thirtieth anniversary of his em- 
ployment by the Bell Telephone Company 
of Pennsylvania, at Philadelphia. There 
and thereabouts he had charge of operating 
the company's cafeterias until he trans- 
ferred to the A. T. and T. Company in 
1923. Since then, in the traffic division of 
the Department of Operation and Engi- 
neering, his interests have grown from din- 
ing service and kindred matters to include 
the recruiting and selection of traffic em- 
ployees, safety and health activities, and the 
personnel aspects of the development of 
women supervisory employees. His most 
recent contribution to this Magazine was 
"Recreation Facilities for Bell System 
Women," in the issue for Summer 1944. 

Another huge project became bigger 
still when it was announced last October 
that the Bell System's nation-wide coaxial 
cable program would be nearly doubled in 
extent and halved in time schedule. At 
that time three men familiar with the vari- 
ous elements of the job described to the 
members of the Television Broadcasters' 
Association the implications for that indus- 
try — Laurance G. Woodford, General 
Manager of the Long Lines Department of 
A. T. & T. ; Keith S. McHugh, Vice 
President in charge of Public Relations of 
A. T. & T. ; and Oliver E. Buckley, 
President of the Bell Telephone Labora- 

Mr. Woodford's 35-year career with the 
Bell System began with the Iowa Tele- 
phone Company, and continued with the 
Northwestern Bell Telephone Company 
until 1923, when he joined the A. T. and 
T. Company. In the O. & E. Department 
he progressed through the plant division 
until in 1941 he was appointed chief engi- 

Raymond A. Steelman 

Laurance G. Woodford 

Keith S. McHugh 

Bell Telephone Magazine 


Oliver E.Buckley 

William H. Harrison 

Leon W. Germain 

neer — the post he held until he moved on 
to his present Long Lines responsibility in 


It was as a clerk that Mr. McHugh 

joined the A. T. & T. Company in 1919, 
but within a few months he became an en- 
gineer in the O. & E. Department. From 
1 92 1 to 1925 he was General Commercial 
Engineer of the Chesapeake and Potomac 
Telephone Company in Washington, D. C, 
and for the next four years he was with the 
New York Telephone Company as gen- 
eral commercial manager and as vice presi- 
dent. In 1929 he returned to A. T. & T. 
as commercial engineer, and was appointed 
an assistant vice president in 1934. Two 
years later he was elected a vice president. 
His appointment to the public relations 
position, succeeding Arthur W. Page, took 
place last June. Mr. McHugh contributed 
"War Activities of the Bell Telephone Sys- 
tem" to this Magazine for November 
1942, and was one of the authors of "The 
Bell System's Interest in Program Tele- 
vision" in the issue for Spring 1944. His 
graceful adieu to radio broadcasting station 
WEAF appears on page 162 of this issue. 
Dr. Buckley entered the Bell System as 
a research physicist in 191 4. He became 
Bell Telephone Laboratories' assistant di- 
rector of research in 1927 and director in 
^933> was made executive vice president in 

1936, and was elected President of the 
Laboratories in 1940. His "Bell Labora- 
tories in the War," in these pages for Win- 
ter 1944-45, although written under the 
wraps of war-time security regulations, 
gives some notion of his and that organiza- 
tion's part in victory over the Axis powers. 
Dr. Buckley is a fellow of several scientific 
and engineering societies, and is a member 
of the National Academy of Sciences, the 
American Philosophical Society, and the 
National Inventors' Council. 


brief talk to the Pioneers in Cleveland last 
October will reveal both the authority and 
the sympathy with which he discusses serv- 
ice under conditions of peace and of war. 
He understands both. Since he began in 
the telephone business as a repairman in 
1909, he has worked in the New York 
Telephone Company, the Western Electric 
Company, the Bell Telephone Company of 
Pennsylvania and the Diamond State Tele- 
phone Company, and the American Tele- 
phone and Telegraph Company — always 
with increasing responsibility. From the 
last-named he took leave of absence in 1940 
to accept heavy administrative burdens for 
the nation, first in civilian capacities and 
then as military officer; he resigned from 
(Continued on page 187) 


.... 'i 

tm i 


Crossing OF Man River: an armored section of coaxial telephone cable being laid on 

the river bottom near Vicksburg, Miss., as the southern transcofitifiental coaxial cable 

project pushes westward toward the Pacific coast. See page 14"/ 

More Than a Million People IVill Have Been Interviewed 

During 1946 to Obtain the New Employees Needed in the 

Bell System s Greatest Employment Year 

Hiring a Quarter of a 
Million Women 

Raymond A. Steelman 

fied women to be hired in 1946: that 
was the requirement put up to the 
Bell System men and women who 
work in the recruiting and employ- 
ment field. 

The request was the largest they 
had ever received. To many of them 
the figure at first seemed fantastic. 
Back in 1938, before World War II 
began, and things were, let us say 
"normal," the System's needs were 
met by bringing in only 18,000 
women. Yet the answer to the re- 
quest was a quick "All right; it will 
be tough, but let's get going and 
count on us to deliver." And they 
are doing so. 

For the recruiters, the figure is 
even larger. For it is necessary to 
recruit more applicants than the num- 
ber of employees required, so that 
proper selections can be made; and, 

as is to be expected, some do not ac- 
cept the position offered to them. 
Thus it is likely that when the books 
for 1946 are closed, it will be found 
that more than a million women will 
have passed through the Bell Sys- 
tem's employment oflEces and other 
points of hiring. 

New people are required for many 
different kinds of jobs. Telephone 
operators comprise, of course, the 
largest single group of women em- 
ployees: a force, with their super- 
visors, of nearly 250,000. And be- 
sides these, there is need for clerks 
who prepare and issue the bills to cus- 
tomers; other clerks who prepare the 
pay checks; typists, stenographers, 
and comptometer operators; and rep- 
resentatives who handle business of- 
fice contracts with the public. 

But why are so many new people 
still needed? The answer is enllght- 


Bell Telephone Magazine 


Telephone Operator 

These illustrations are from a booklet entitled ''An Invita- 
tion from the Telephone Company'' which is distributed 
widely among prospective applicants 

Service Representative 

ening. When Japan 
surrendered, the Bell 
System was holding 
hundreds of thousands 
of orders for tele- 
phones, which, because 
of war shortages, it 
had been unable to fill. 
Soon after V-J Day, 
new telephones were 
being installed in an 
orderly rush. But the 
end of the war didn't 
bring a slackening of 
demands. Rather, the 
orders began to come 
in faster than ever, 
and the calling rate 
went up. So did the 
usage of long distance. 
So more employees — 
many more — were re- 
quired to handle an 
unprecedented growth 
which the Bell System 
was experiencing. 

That wasn't all. 
Because of the war, 
many of the employees 
of the telephone com- 
panies, along with 
those in other indus- 
tries, were working 
overtime. The prob- 
lem here was to get 
back to a five-day 
week, and that too re- 
quired many addi- 
tional employees. 

Finally, force losses 
had to be reckoned 
with. With so many 
thousands of employ- 
ees, substantial num- 
bers of resignations 
are inevitable. They 


Hiring a garter of a Million Women 


are, of course, running at a higher 
rate in the hectic postwar world than 
in normal times. 

Need for Recruiting 

There was a time when more than 
enough well qualified girls applied 
voluntarily. Waiting lists were main- 
tained and no form of recruiting was 

Those days are gone. Now, in 
order to obtain the large numbers of 
new people who are constantly needed 
to keep the System ticking, they have 
to be recruited, and getting them is 
not an easy task. This can be under- 
stood when it is kept in mind that the 
telephone companies have to obtain 
their quarter of a million new em- 
ployees for 1946 from the same local 
supply from which the needs of all 
other employers are filled: industries 
geared to produce the peacetime needs 
of an equipment starved nation, stores 
with sales volumes hitting one new 
peak on top of another, banks, insur- 
ance companies, transportation com- 
panies, and other employers of 

Take a look at any want-ad page 
in the newspaper and see how many 
employers are appealing for em- 
ployees. On a recent Sunday, the 
columns of a large metropolitan daily 
contained over 1900 classified ads 
for women, exclusive of domestic 
help and employment agencies. 
Many of these were for large num- 
bers of employees. 

To be able to obtain so many new 
employees, and to hold them after 
they are hired, requires that basic 
conditions be right: pay, hours, work- 
ing conditions, and relationships with 
individual employees. Many better- 
ments have been made, and ways to 

improve the attractiveness of the job 
are constantly under review. 

Team-work Needed 

Team-work is also needed. While 
the recruiting and employment of the 
System's women employees is largely 
a responsibility of the Traffic Depart- 
ments, because it is in these depart- 
ments that the large majority of the 
women are located, others participate 
actively in the work — notably the In- 
formation Departments. Through- 
out, the approach is that this is a 
Company-wide problem: one to be 
met by wholehearted cooperation. It 
is largely because of this that such 
excellent results have been achieved. 

In a large number of communities 
all over the country it has been a re- 
sponsibility of the chief operators 
and comparable supervisory employ- 
ees in other departments to recruit 
and employ, and they have done an 
outstanding job. In many big cities, 
however, because of unusually heavy 
volumes, special recruiting organiza- 
tions have been established. The 
number of new people needed and the 
tightness of employment conditions 
are two of the factors that control 
the exact set-up. In a typical area 
where 5500 additions are required 
this year, the recruiting organization 
consists of fifteen people — two men 
and thirteen women. This full-time 
recruiting organization is augmented 
by others who work part time on re- 
cruiting as the needs arise. 

An important person is the one 
who heads up the recruiting program. 
The basic work he does and the ex- 
tent to which he is able to motivate 
and inspire others are fundamental 
requirements of success. Initiative, 
imagination, creative ability, a back- 


Bell Telephone Magazine 


ground of selling experience, famili- 
arity with departmental functioning 
and needs, and the ability to plan and 
execute an intricate program, are 
among the qualifications for the in- 
dividual who is given this key role in 
the recruiting scene. 

An initial step is to estimate how 
many people are expected to be re- 
quired for each of the starting posi- 
tions, for each week and month. 
While difficulties are experienced in 
making precise forecasts, it is sur- 
prising how closely experienced peo- 
ple can predict the needs. 

Recruiting Through the Schools 

It is through the high schools that 
the largest numbers of people be- 
come available as employees each 
year. These girls make fine employ- 
ees — they learn quickly and are likely 
to remain in the locality. 

The Bell System long ago pio- 
neered in this form of recruiting. 
But when employment needs began 
to accelerate so rapidly, the need was 
crystal clear for strengthening con- 
tacts with the schools. 

The objective now is to obtain just 
as many new employees as possible 
from this important source. Visits 
are first made to school officials. 
They naturally want their students 
to obtain good positions, and it is 
here that the excellent reputation of 
the telephone company as an em- 
ployer is a factor of importance. 

Initial contacts are followed by 
others with principals and counselors 
in the individual schools. So that 
principals, teachers, and counselors 
may have a first-hand picture of what 
the business has to offer, they are in- 
vited to visit the telephone building, 
usually in groups. Here they see the 

various kinds of work young women 
perform, and observe the working 
environment, the kind of supervision 
provided, the type of girls their stu- 
dents will have as associates, and the i 
lounges, cafeterias, and other facili- 
ties provided for employees to use 
while not at work. Often they are ; 
guests at a dinner which is followed 
by short addresses and a discussion 

So that the counselors may be able j 
to discuss telephone company employ- '\ 
ment in specific terms with students, 
comprehensive reference material is 
provided in the form of a Counselor's i 
Handbook, entitled Careers in the • 
Telephone Business. Counselors were ■ 
consulted in its preparation, and pic- ■ 
tures are included to show the girls ' 
when jobs are discussed. | 

Various methods are used in at- | 
tracting the students themselves. 1 
Among them are short talks in the 
schools by pleasant young women : 
who are employees of the telephone : 
company, in connection with which ^ 
recruiting literature is distributed; \ 
recruiting movies, and group visits ; 
of students to telephone buildings. 
Many employment advertisements 
appear in student publications. 

The movie Step High, a Holly- ; 
wood production, was shown early 
this year, first to school counselors 
and then, with their approval, to 
thousands of students in schools all 
over the country. This picture, in a 
light vein, was extremely popular 
among young people, and was di- 
rectly responsible for motivating 
many of the System's present em- 
ployees to apply. While the opera- 
tor's job is featured, all of the other 
beginning positions are covered, with 
on-the-spot scenes showing the work 


Hiring a garter of a Million Women 


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jobi for .mtHtioui giri. Come in ind i«lk ii o»ef « 
700 FtOSflCT AVIHUi. ROOM tO» 

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"•^e street 







THURSDAY, MAY I7, I945, AT 4:00 P.M. 



"Sv.r. HOTlIt 


employees actually perform. An- 
other picture to be used for recruit- 
ing purposes has just been released. 
A still different activity, in which 
the local telephone company is simply 
one participant, is a school-planned 
college and career night, in which 
each college and industry represented 
is provided an opportunity to point 
out the advantages it offers, whether 
as a place to continue one's educa- 
tion or to work. At the company's 
booth, each visitor is given a copy of 
the company's recruiting booklet, an 
invitation to visit the employment of- 
fice, and a card of introduction. 

Messages to Seniors: A card of invitatio^ 
to visit the local telephone building {above) y 
distributed to all the girls of the class; and 
two advertisements published in school 

An interesting feature of the pro- 
gram in many places for recruiting 
through the schools is the working 
out of a plan with school authorities 
under which opportunities for work- 
ing after school and over week ends 
are made available to girls still in 
school. Such employment, obviously, 
is not permitted to interfere in the 
least with their progress at school. 
Many of these girls who are seniors 
become full-time employees at the 
close of school. Others work for the 
telephone company during the sum- 
mer, return to school in the fall, and 
are ready for full-time employment 
when they graduate. 

No attempt is made to induce girls 
to discontinue school. The emphasis 
is in the other direction. In a recent 
radio employment program the an- 
nouncer said, among other things, 
"That summer job may look awfully 


Bell Telephone Magazine 


good to you now, but chances are 
better than even that with a diploma 
tucked under your arm, you will have 
much better opportunities for gain- 
ful employment. If it is within the 
realm of the possible, I urge you to 
return to school." 

Recruiting Through Employees 
While many girls apply for work of 

their own accord simply because they 
have friends who are employees, sub- 
stantially larger numbers can be at- 
tracted when voluntary recruiting ef- 
forts are carried on among the em- 
ployees on a planned basis. This 
method of recruiting rates high not 
only as to numbers but also as to 
quality: a company employee natu- 
rally "knows what it takes." Such 

High school seniors sign the 
guest book as they enter the 
central office building for a re- 
cruiting party. Below: The 
mirror reports that the oper- 
ator s new light-weight headset^ 
being adjusted by a hostess, 
looks good on the girl who is con- 
sidering what telephone operat- 
ing offers as a career ■ 


Hiring a garter of a Million Women 


activities are participated in by all 
departments, although some may 
need few or no employees at the time. 
With a total of over 485,000 em- 
ployees in System companies, the po- 
tentialities are great. 

Bell System employees like their 
work — they are proud of their com- 
pany and what it stands for. The 
"Spirit of Service," traditional among 
telephone operators of the past as 
well as of the present, is catching, 
and it doesn't take long as a rule for 
one of the operators, a "First Lady 
of Communications," to "sell" the 
idea of working for "her" company 
to others. Often these newcomers 
land at a switchboard, sometimes at 
another kind of work. Similarly, a 
prospect sent in by a Commercial De- 
partment employee may be assigned 
to that department, or she may take 
her place at a switchboard or at a 
desk in the Accounting Department. 
The employment offices try to place 
each employee in the kind of job she 
is best suited for, and the kind she 
would like to get. 

Two methods of recruitment are 
used. The first is a recruiting cam- 
paign — a concentrated drive of short 
duration. This method is used prin- 
cipally when substantial numbers are 
required quickly. In one large city 
where employment conditions were 
very difficult a few months back, 50 
"recruiters" worked full time among 
the employees for a four weeks' 
stretch. Thousands of prospects 
were obtained, and the names of 
others are still coming in. 

Under the other plan, recruiting is 
continuous, and in the aggregate it 
produces the best results. It takes 
advantage of the fact that the em- 
ployees make many new friends from 

time to time, and extends the recruit- 
ing plan to the new employees who 
are continuously entering the ranks. 
Launching interdepartmental re- 
cruiting from the top, and the as- 
sumption of responsibility by all man- 
agement levels, are prerequisites to 
its vitality and continuance. Coordi- 
nation is done by interdepartmental 
recruiting committees, at different 
levels and in different localities. 
Among the functions of these com- 
mittees are setting objectives, formu- 
lating the mechanics of the under- 
taking, sponsoring it in the various 
departments, publicity, and inform- 
ing those concerned of the results 
achieved. Finally, the committee, on 
the basis of comparative perform- 
ance, strengthens any weak spots that 
may appear in the program. 

The crux of this form of recruit- 
ing is the personal contact between 
a recruiter and each employee on the 
force, to the end that prospects for 
employment will be referred by em- 
ployees to the employment office and 
their names given to the recruiter for 
purposes of follow-up. New em- 
ployees, naturally, are seen soon after 
they start. Last June and July, in 
the Traffic Departments alone, nearly 
40,000 young women were added to 
the payroll. Most of them were 
right out of school. By seeing these 
new people promptly, recruiters ob- 
tained the names of many of their 
friends, as yet unemployed, and large 
numbers of additional employees 
were thus acquired. 

The recruiter may be an employee 
who works regularly on this assign- 
ment, one who has been detached 
from other work temporarily to re- 
cruit, or an employee who carries on 


Bell Telephone Magazine 


recruiting in connection with other 
duties. They are all carefully se- 
lected. Important qualifications are 
enthusiasm, ability to talk well, per- 
sistence, and enough experience to be 
able to answer or obtain the answers 
to questions that arise. Above all, 
they are people who feel strongly 
from their own experiences that their 
company is a fine place to work. 
Needless to say, recruiters are trained 
in recruiting methods before they see 
employees on this important assign- 

In contacts which the recruiter has 
with the employees, she furnishes ma- 
terial to stimulate and guide them, as 
well as material for the employees to 
give prospects — such as recruiting 
folders and booklets, earnings cards, 
and cards of introduction to the em- 
ployment office. Popular for this use 
are book matches, lipstick tissue 
books, and address-telephone number 
books — all containing employment 

A typical booklet used to inform 
employees opens with a letter signed 
by the president of the company, and 
covers such important questions as 
What Is the Employment Situation? , 
Why Do We Need So Many More 
People?, What h Being Done to Get 
Them?, What Jobs Are To Be 
Filled?, What Are the Require- 
ments?, What Are the Advantages 
for New Employees? , JFliere Do I 
Find People?, What Do I Do if I 
Have an Employrnent Prospect? and 
Where Are the Company's Employ- 
ment Centers? The book is illus- 
trated in a light vein and much color 
is used. 

To re-enforce the efforts of the 
recruiters, general publicity is given 
to this form of recruitment by such 

means as illustrated stories in com- 
pany magazines, posters, lobby dis- 
plays, cards for cafeteria tables, and 
pay-check enclosures. 

Family Nights, while not distinctly 
recruiting activities, have aided sub- 
stantially. In these affairs, popular 
among the employees, members of 
their families and others are invited 
to the telephone building to meet 
those in charge and the other em- 
ployees, and to see the building, the 
job, and the facilities. At an em- 
ployment table, suitably designated, 
a recruiter is present to tell the story 
of Bell employment, furnish printed 
matter, and answer questions. A 
common plan is for the employees to 
use this opportunity to give their 
friends who are prospective employ- 
ees a close view of what the company 
has to offer. 

Incentives maintain enthusiasm. 
While the employees are thanked 
generously for their aid by people in 
the organization who are close to 
them, other methods are also used. 
These include a recruiting news sheet 
— Recruit-her — for example, which 
publicizes the results by groups and 
gives the names of participating em- 
ployees, and an Iionor roll posted in 
the office. A novel idea is the chain 
poster, which features the photo- 
graph and name of the employee who 
recommended the new employee, fol- 
lowed by the photographs and names 
of all other new employees added to 
the force as a result of hiring the 
original girl. 

Other activities are informal lunch- 
eons at which participating employees 
are entertained, and the recruiting 
dance — for whicli employees qualify 
tlirough participation in the recruit- 


Hiring a Quarter of a Million Women 


High school students^ visiting 
a telephone buildings take part 
in the company's ''Teen and 
Twenty Time'" radio program^ 
one of its many recruiting ac- 
tivities. Right: A^'stiir from 
the Bell Systeins Hollywood 
movie ''Step High'' 

Ing plan. At one such dance, which 
was preceded by a well planned cam- 
paign Involving bulletin board post- 
ers, booster handouts, and easel dis- 
plays, the ballroom of a large hotel 
was engaged. In attendance were 
640 employees and their guests. 
Many additional employees were ac- 
quired as a result of the campaign, 
while stimulation was given to the 
entire program of recruiting through 
the employees. 

Making Our Needs Known 

The place to which most people go 
when they are seeking employment Is 
the want-ad section of the newspaper. 
Here the approach Is direct — the 
kinds of positions open are stated, 

and the advantages are described 
completely and attractively. Strik- 
ing captions are used and In many 
cases pay Is highlighted. While tele- 
phone company pay Is good, many 
do not know It. Putting money In 
the ads has been responsible not only 
for attracting applicants — It's what 
they want to know — but It has a pub- 
lic relations value as well. 

Display advertisements are also 
used. While direct appeals In such 
advertisements are not ordinarily as 
Immediately productive as In classi- 
fied ads, display advertisements per- 
mit stating the company's needs for 
people more completely and dramat- 
ically than space on the want-ad page 
permits, and to a large audience. 


Bell Telephone Magazine 


One of the principal uses of display 
advertisements in newspapers and also 
in magazines is in connection with 
long range programs aimed at estab- 
lishing in the minds of the public, and 
of young women in particular, the at- 
tractiveness of the telephone busi- 
ness as a place of employment. 

Featured in all types of recruiting 
publicity are those things which young 
women want in a job which the tele- 
phone company has to offer. In- 
cluded, in addition to good pay, are 
convenient places of employment, 
interesting work, competent and 
friendly supervision, congenial associ- 
ates, pleasant surroundings, oppor- 
tunities to get ahead, and job sta- 
bility. Many excellent ideas have been 
obtained from the employees them- 
selves. In a contest, What Would 
You Tell Maryf, Mary being a girl 
who soon may be considering taking 
a job, 900 entries were received from 
the employees of all departments of 
one company. The contest was an- 
nounced in the company magazine, 
entry blanks were included, and sub- 
stantial prizes were awarded the 

Radio is used in two principal 
ways. Where other methods do not 
produce enough applicants to permit 
filling the need, it is used in the same 
way as the classified ad — to attract 
applicants at the time. Its other use 
is to assist in establishing in the pub- 
lic mind, over a period of time, the 
fact that the telephone company is a 
good place to work. 

Among the well established tele- 
phone employment programs which 
have a big following among young 
people locally are Teen and Twenty 
Time, Serenade for Smoothies, and 

The High School Hour. A feature 
of one of the regular programs, 
broadcast on Saturday nights, is a 
salute to the high school whose team 
was the winner in a local football ; 
game of importance that day. An- 
other features fan mail from girls' 
clubs, along with a weekly studio 
party, in which nationally known 
guest stars, popular among young 
people, appear in person. Another 
dramatizes incidents in the lives of 
telephone operators, parts being 
taken by high school students whose 
names are announced. 

Additional forms of radio employ- 
ment advertising include interviews 
with employees and spot announce- 
ments, while recruiting messages are 
often included in programs that con- 
tain diversified commercials. Specific 
wage information is given in many of 
the announcements. 

A recruiting campaign, to be fully 
effective, must be comprehensive in 
scope. Thus, while relying heavily 
on recruiting through the schools and 
present employees, together with the 
use of the newspapers and the radio, 
the total picture, where recruiting is 
diflicult, includes supplementary 
media such as window displays, dis- 
plays and posters in lobbies of tele- 
phone buildings used by the public, 
street car and bus cards, cards on 
company vehicles, contacts with the 
public in business offices by specially 
selected and trained recruiters, and in 
extreme cases door-to-door canvass- 

Bringing Back Former Employees 

Many employees who resign from 
the telephone company do so not 
because of any dissatisfaction with 
the job; marriage, home conditions, 


Hiring a Quarter of a Million Women 


It's a nice feeling for a mother to know that her 
daughter is working in safe, wholesome and congenial 

Here at the Telephone Company, young-girls can be 
sure of these pleasant working conditions besides good 
pay, interesting public service and opportuoitics for reg- 
ular advancement. 

Why not suggest that your daughter talk things over 
with us today. 

Act at once. You may telt-phoae to inquire about 

and leaving town are some of the 
common causes. There is thus the 
always present possibility that sub- 
stantial numbers of former employ- 
ees might like to return, either in the 
same location or in a different place 
to which they have moved. Many of 
these people are experienced, and 
being able to utilize that experience 
is something worth striving for. In 
tapping this supply, there is a sys- 
tematic program for keeping in touch 
with former employees, and many do 
return. When basic changes are 
made, in wages for example, former 
employees are promptly informed. 
Some of the newspaper advertise- 
ments and radio commercials are 
beamed solely at them. 

There is always a certain amount 
of moving around from city to city. 
To care for this, transfer procedures 
have long been established. In re- 
cent years there has been more 
of this than normally, and to in- 
sure that experienced employees 
will be "saved" for the System, 
if possible, information is sent 

Uniroduclion C>ard 


7(10 I'rospecl \\r. Room 9ni 

Jt introduc*_ 

'Outd like to make opplkotion for employment with ovr compony. 
'» been referred by _ — _ . 

A newspaper display advertisement {top). 
A poster^ a booklet^ and a referral card^ all 
designed to enlist the help of present em- 
Dloyees in interesting their friends in 
telephone work 

I \ Omplot^menl Uffic 


I hov« referred - 

-to you 

01 o prospective opplkont for lelepfione employment. Her telephone 

Omc* M«M« 

i|H»i.O*WINT O^rtCI CO^f) 


Bell Telephone Magazine 


to the proper supervisory people in 
the new location, giving the details 
regarding employees who move, 
whether within the same company or 
to the territory of another company. 
This permits reaching them directly 
if they do not apply for work. 

Employment Offices 

For years the System companies 
have had employment offices for 
women in all cities where the size 
warrants them. All applicants go to 
these centers, regardless of the kind 
of position desired. Large volume 
hiring has necessitated the opening of 
many additional offices and the ex- 
pansion of others. Paralleling the 
expansion of these facilities has been 
the addition of many new interview- 
ers and other employment office per- 
sonnel. These carefully selected 
women are prepared for their work 
on the basis of a recently developed 
training course, geared to meet the 

needs of present-day employment 
conditions. Where there are no em- 
ployment offices as such, designated 
supervisory employees have the em- 
ployment responsibility. 

Induction and Training 

After employment come induction 
and training. Induction procedures 
are aimed at establishing and main- 

Booklets which emphasize the advantages^ financial and environ- 
mental^ of telephone employment 


Hiring a garter of a Million Women 


taining pleasant contacts between su- 
pervision and the new employee from 
the very start, and giving informa- 
tion promptly to her about the many 
things she wants to know and those 
with which the company, as her em- 
ployer, wants her to be familiar. 
Movies are used as one of the ways 
in which interesting stories are told. 
Titles of two such pictures recently 
completed are The Big Day and 
Meet Your Company. 

Another activity is popularly re- 
ferred to as The ABC's of Our Busi- 
ness. In this, new employees — and 
older ones too — in group meetings 
are given information about funda- 
mental principles applying to the suc- 

cessful running of any business, and 
the telephone business in particular. 
Sound-slide films are used, trained 
leaders conduct discussion periods, 
and booklets are distributed as take- 
home pieces. 

In preparing the new employees 
to perform their work, and keeping 
pace with the current heavy intake, 
training forces have been substan- 
tially augmented, new training facili- 
ties provided, and improved training 
methods introduced. A recently re- 
leased movie, Emily Talks Training, 
illustrates vividly for instructors the 
principles of carrying on training dis- 
cussions with operators. 

Recruiting activities: — Left, a ''re- 
cruiter' discussing with an employee 
the possibility that some of her friends 
might be interested in telephone work. 
In circle, a switchboard scene from the 
new Bell System film ''Emily Talks 
Training." Below, the men who guide 
a recruiting program — a general staff 
nterdepartmental recruiting committee 


Bell Telephone Magazine 

Part of a telephone company employ moit ojjice /;/ a big city 

Looking Ahead 

By now the System's employment 
program for 1946 is well along to- 
wards completion. In retrospect, the 
hiring, training, and assimilating of 
a quarter of a million women in but 
one year represents, in the minds of 
many, one of the greatest recent ac- 
complishments of the Bell System. 

But employment people must al- 
ways be looking ahead, and in the 
foreseeable future large scale activi- 
ties will surely continue. The size of 
the force will have to be increased 
still further, force losses are continu- 
ing at a substantial rate, and the em- 

ployment situation is tightening in 
many places. And so, in getting 
ready for 1947, three regional con- 
ferences on recruiting and employ- 
ment, in which every Bell Company 
was represented, were recently held in 
Washington, Chicago, and San Fran- 
cisco. The discussions were thor- 
ough-going, and growing out of these 
meetings is the confidence that no 
matter what the future needs may 
prove to be, nor how difficult the ob- 
taining of employees may become, the 
men and women who carry the re- 
sponsibility will find ways to insure 
that the problem will be solved. 

About 2 J 00 Route Miles of Coaxial Cable Are Now in 

Place^ and the Installation Schedule Has Been Speeded 

Up to a Rate of 3,000 Miles Next Year 

The Bell System's Progress 
in Television Networks 

Editors' note: Important announcements concerning the Bell 
System's transmission facilities for the television industry were 
made at the second Television Conference of the Television 
Broadcasters' Association, held in New York on October lo 
and II, by Laurance G. Woodford, General Manager of the 
Long Lines Department, Keith S. AIcHugh, Vice President 
of the American Telephone and Telegraph Company, and 
Oliver E. Buckley, President of Bell Telephone Laboratories. 
Mr. McHugh and Mr. Buckley spoke in connection with their 
acceptance, on behalf of their colleagues, of gold medals pre- 
sented by the Association ; and Mr. Woodford's was the prin- 
cipal address of the second day.'s session. The substance of 
their remarks follows: 

I. Laurance G. IVoodford 

Early in 1944, the American Tele- 
phone and Telegraph Company an- 
nounced a five- to six-year construc- 
tion program involving 7,000 route 
miles of coaxial cable. That program 
is now being compressed into about 
three years, and additional routes 
have been added to the enlarged pro- 
gram, so that by about 1950 we ex- 
pect to have some 12,000 route miles 

of this broad band cable in service. 
As of October i, about 2,700 miles 
of coaxial cable were in the ground, 
and construction is moving forward 
rapidly at a rate which will approach 
3,000 miles next year. Right now, 
cable plow trains on the southern 
transcontinental route are laying cable 
between Jackson, Miss., and Shreve- 
port, Louisiana, and are operating as 


Bell Telephone Magazine 









NOTE: Theie coaiiials ar« b«ing initolled ond equipped for 
urgently needed telephone circuits. With ipeciol 
additional equipment, coaxial cablet con carr^ 
television programs. Such service it now in experi- 
mental operation between Washington and New Yorfc 


The 12 fioo route miles — installed^ under constructio7i, or planned — comprising 
the Bell System's nation-wide coaxial cable program which is scheduled 

for completion by about ig^o 

far west as El Paso. Other trains 
are placing cable between Buffalo and 

Coaxial cable is tailor-made to fit 
the requirements of each type of ter- 
rain. Through cities it is placed in 
conduit; through areas subject to fre- 
quent electrical storms, it is enclosed 
in a special copper jacketing; through 
particularly rugged sections where 
rocks and boulders are encountered, 
and in crossing streams, a protective 
armor covering is used. 

The coaxial "tubes" first used in 
1936 were about a quarter of an inch 
in diameter. Because of the wider 
frequency bands now contemplated, 
the diameter of the tubes now being 
put into the cables has been increased 
to three-eighths of an inch. These 
larger tubes permit us to station the 
auxiliary repeaters eight miles apart, 
instead of five and a half miles, and 

to put the main repeater stations as 
much as 150 miles apart, as com- 
pared to 90 miles in the case of the 
earlier cables. The repeaters, as you 
know, make up for the weakening 
of the signal in passing over the cable. 
Toward the end of an eight-mile sec- 
tion, the strength of the signal may be 
only a hundred-thousandth as great as 
it was at the beginning of the section. 
Most of the auxiliary repeaters are 
in small unattended buildings which 
are visited only in case of trouble and 
for periodic routine tests. 

Safeguarding Operation 

Steps which have been taken to 
insure continuous and satisfactory 
operation are particularly interesting. 
You know perhaps that coaxial cables 
contain special pairs of wires, in ad- 
dition to the actual coaxial tubes, 


The Bell System's Progress in Television Networks 


which help us to do the maintenance 
job. Continuous information as to 
the operation of the equipment in the 
auxiUary repeater stations is sent 
automatically ov^er these wires to the 
main repeater stations. A change in 
the signal strength at any repeater 
may indicate a weakening of that link 
in the chain. Such an occurrence is 
immediately made known to attend- 
ants, even though they may be miles 
away. This permits potentially weak 
apparatus to be replaced before a 
failure can occur. 

As a further precaution to insure 
continuous service, each repeater has 
a double set of vacuum tubes, so that 
failure of a single vacuum tube will 
not cause an interruption. 

Power for operating the repeaters 
is supplied from commercial sources 
through connections at the main re- 
peater stations. Here again careful 
precautions are taken to prevent in- 

terruption of service. Large storage 
batteries and engine-driven genera- 
tors are provided for emergency use. 
Power for the auxiliary repeaters is 
transmitted from the main stations 
over the central conductors of the 
coaxial tubes themselves. 

In television transmission, each 
frequency component in the broad 
band required must travel over the 
circuit at the exact speed of every 
other frequency in the band. We 
know that if some frequencies arrive 
at a distant point a millionth of a 
second later than the other frequen- 
cies, the picture will appear quite 
fuzzy. Our precision job in this re- 
spect has been to develop apparatus 
which makes extremely accurate ad- 
justments in the time of travel as be- 
tween frequencies. The frequencies 
on the outer edge of the band have a 
tendency to move just a little more 
slowly than those nearer the center. 

M mm. mi. mm 

Mr. Woodford points out the southern transcontinental route 


Bell Telephone Magazine 


This means that certain frequencies population. But local facilities also 
must be slowed up to permit other are a necessity to the broadcaster, and 

frequencies to catch up. For the sake 
of comparison, just imagine two 
trains in a coast-to-coast race reach- 
ing the finish line less than a train- 
length apart. 

Coaxial Cables and Micro-wave 
Radio Relay Systems 

It has been our view that coaxial 
cables are fairly certain to play a 
prominent role in network television 
transmission. Their reliability, the 
fact that the Bell System is construct- 
ing a network of coaxial cables for 

the Bell Laboratories have made 
progress in developing arrangements 
for this purpose as well. 

For studio-transmitter links — 
where a permanent, reliable, high- 
grade facility is required — coaxial 
cable already has been provided in a 
number of cases and we are now 
experimenting with a type of specially 
shielded balanced cable pair which 
we believe will be even better suited 
to this purpose in many situations. 

For carrying programs from re- 
mote pick-up points to the broad- 
casters' control rooms, we have de- 

telephone usage between the principal veloped both radio and wire methods; 

cities of the nation, and the expecta- 
tion that further developments will 
make it possible to provide both tele- 
phone and television channels over 
the same coaxial conductors, all make 

in fact, facilities of both types are in 
use for bringing programs to this 

It has been found that ordinary 
telephone wires can be used for this 

the coaxial seem an attractive type of purpose when special amplifying and 

facility for television network use. 

We are not placing our reliance 
solely on coaxial cable, however. 
The Bell Telephone Laboratories are 
also conducting extensive develop- 
ment work on radio relay systems. 
One such system is now being installed 
between New York and Boston and 

equalizing equipment is provided and 
the wires are cleared of all branch- 
ing connections. This method has the 
great advantage that the wires al- 
ready exist to most all points of 

Micro-wave radio links may be 
better adapted for local pick-up fa- 

is expected to be available for experi- cilities where "line-of-sight" locations 

mental use next spring. Should radio 
relay systems prove advantageous for 
use either alone or in conjunction with 
coaxial cables, they will, of course, be 
utilized where indicated. 

Thus far we have been speaking 
only of facilities for inter-city net- 
work transmission. These would ap- 
pear to be of first importance because 
of the economics of network broad- 
casting and because of the urge there 
will be to bring events of national 
interest to all important centers of 

can be found for the transmitter and 
the receiver. In short, it appears to 
us that both wire and radio facilities 
will have fields of use for local pick- 

Our plans for future construction 
are based primarily on our need for 
coaxial facilities for telephone serv- 
ice. Since these facilities will be pro- 
vided to take care of growth over a 
reasonable period of years, we expect 
to have spare coaxials on almost all 


The Bell System's Progress in Television Networks 


of these routes, which can be used for 
television transmission until more fa- 
cilities become available. Such use for 
television, however, requires special 
terminal and line equipment and other 
arrangements over and above those 
required for telephone service. 

We expect the embryonic network 
which now connects this city and 
Washington with two-way television 
facilities to be extended to Boston 
next year, using radio relay. We ex- 
pect also to make available two ad- 
ditional one-way television circuits be- 
tween New York and Washington 
next year. In 1947 we will push west- 
ward towards Pittsburgh, and hope to 
be able to connect such cities as 
Cleveland, Buffalo, Detroit, Chicago, 
and St. Louis by the end of 1948 or 
shortly thereafter. Other cities in 
this general area probably can be 
connected not much later than this. 

In addition, we expect the southern 
transcontinental route through Wash- 
ington, Atlanta, Dallas, El Paso and 
on to Los Angeles to be completed by 
the end of 1947, as well as an exten- 
sion along the Atlantic seaboard to 
Miami. This does not mean that a 
coast-to-coast television circuit will be 
available by that time, although the 
basic coaxial facilities will be Installed 
and operating for telephone service. 

Anticipating Television s 

One aspfxt of the situation which 
we expect will be present for the next 
couple of years is that the number of 
television network facilities we can 
make available between these major 
cities generally will be limited to one 
In each direction. This means that 
the several broadcasters may have to 

share In the use of these networks. 

As soon as we can catch up with 
the demand for telephone circuits or 
the development of new equipment 
can be completed — for example, a 
new type of repeater which will per- 
mit us to transmit telephone and tele- 
vision simultaneously on the same 
coaxial conductors — this sharing can 
be eliminated. We will endeavor to 
provide for your Individual service 
needs as rapidly as possible. 

Local television facilities for use In 
picking up programs, as some of you 
know, have been provided by the Bell 
companies to supply most of the serv- 
ice requests which have arisen to date. 
Since the war we have furnished more 
than twenty such facilities to various 
broadcasting stations. Both radio 
and wire arrangements have been 
used successfully. The development 
and manufacture of the necessary 
equipment Is being pushed, and next 
year we expect to be in a position to 
provide over one hundred of these 
pick-up facilities. 

We have already Indicated, to some 
of you at least, that television net- 
work rates necessarily will be con- 
siderably higher than those for sound 
broadcast network service. This Is 
mainly due to the fact that the trans- 
mitting facility required Is one which 
otherwise could be used to provide a 
great many telephone circuits — a fact 
which Is readily apparent when one 
considers the relative widths of the 
frequency bands required for tele- 
vision and telephone circuits. Never- 
theless, we believe we can make rates 
for network service low enough to be 
attractive to the television industry, 
and hence look forward to a rapid 
expansion of the Industry In which we 
will be partlclptants. 


Bell Telephone Magazine 


II. Keith S. McHugh 

As LONG AGO as April 7, 1927, Presi- 
dent Hoover and Mr. Gifford, the 
president of our company, were the 
principals in a demonstration of tele- 
vision over a special wire circuit from 
Washington to New York. On the 
same day, a television program was 
sent by radio from Whippany, New 
Jersey, to a station here in New 
York. The first public demonstration 
of color television was given on June 
27, 1929, here in New York. And in 
April, 1930, two-way television was 
demonstrated publicly between our 
building at 195 Broadway and the 
Bell Telephone Laboratories at 463 
West Street. This pioneer work 
helped make possible the develop- 
ments of today. 

Two-way television service is being 
given between New York and Wash- 
ington without charge to the industry 
during an experimental period, and 
two additional one-way circuits will 
be available over this route next year. 

Next year we also expect to com- 
plete for trial the New York-Boston 
radio relay link which will tie into 
the coaxial cable system at New York. 
We expect this relay link to afford 
comparisons with the coaxial cable of 
great value as to relative quality of 
transmission, flexibility, reliability, 
and costs. 

We have also been doing much 
in the way of experimenting with 
short links for local pick-up purposes 
and for short legs ofF the main net- 
works, using both radio and wire 
facilities. These show promise equal 
to that of the longer main networks. 

I cannot refrain tonight from com- 
paring this occasion with the early 

days of broadcasting. I had the good 
fortune personally to be rather closely 
associated with those days, as I was 
the general manager of one of the 
two Bell System broadcasting stations 
— Station WCAP at Washington. I 
participated in the early trials and 
tribulations of studio design and pro- 
gram techniques, sold one of the 
earliest commercial contracts to a 
sponsor, had the usual difficulties 
with performers both amateurs and 
professionals, and worked closely 
with the first general network trans- 
missions, which at the start included 
all of two stations. Those few years 
had many headaches, but were of 
wonderful interest. I have never lost 
this interest in the industry, even 
though the Bell System companies 
shortly disposed of the stations and 
confined themselves to the business of 
transmission of programs. Today we 
are furnishing 135,000 miles of pro- 
gram channels. 

Many of you will remember those 
days when we used cat-whisker re- 
ceiving sets costing a few dollars, and 
when almost anyone — if he scurried 
around diligently — could build a five- 
watt broadcasting station for a few 
thousand dollars. Perhaps the dollar 
risks were not very great; but it was 
from those modest beginnings that a 
great industry has grown — an in- 
dustry which gives employment to 
thousands of men and women and 
which brings education, information, 
and entertainment to millions of 
American homes. 

Today, while our techniques and 
our knowledge are enormously ad- 


The Bell System's Progress in Television Networks 


vanced over those days, the risks to 
the entrepreneurs are very great. I 
do not know what a modern television 
station and studio will cost, but It 
will be many-fold that of the Invest- 
ment In the first broadcasting stations. 
I do not know what the set manu- 
facturer must risk In our highly com- 
petitive and fast-changing markets, 
but It must be very large compared 
with that of the set manufacturer In 
1922. The networks and the motion 
picture people must necessarily be 
contemplating extensive outlays In 
experimenting with programs, films, 
and the equipment and techniques 
necessary to make 
this Infant Industry 
grow to lusty man- 

Our own risks In 
the comprehensive 
program to obtain 
split-second projec- 
tion of television sig- 
nals from one part of 
the country to an- 
other are not In- 
consequential. There 
are hazards of tech- 
nical quality; there 
are hazards of pro- 
duction; hazards con- 
cerning frequency as- 
signments; there are 
the usual hazards of 
Intense competition In 
a new art which may 
be changed suddenly 
and violently over 
night by some unex- 
pected invention or 
development; and, of 
course, there are the 
hazards of the loss of 
large sums of money. 

Fruit of Free Men's Dreams 

And what faith prompts the chal- 
lenging and the risking of these haz- 
^rds? That faith Is simple. Its roots 
are deep In the belief that the Ameri- 
can people will be as eager to have 
education, Information, and entertain- 
ment brought to their homes to see 
as they were keen to hear; that in 
this modern day of Instant communi- 
cation, the extension of the ability to 
see distant places and people will add 
as much as or more than the exten- 
sion of the ability to hear. 

Nowhere but in America could a 

A cutaway section of a coaxial cable splice, and a repeater 
and a gas pressure gauge, were included in the Bell System's 
exhibit of televisio>i equipment 


Bell Telephone Magazine 





^Ik^'''" ' 1 




Sil ""* 

i: ^ m 


w^.-.^ ■ 

-'^'^^cS^ K^^^H 




This diorama of the Bell System s experimental radio relay system yiow being installed 
between New York and Boston was displayed at the television conference 

project of this magnitude be under- 
taken with the zest and zeal and push 
essential to its early and successful 
completion. Just as our form of gov- 
ernment has permitted free men to 
span this continent by rail and by air, 
to perfect a communications system 
which permits connection with the 
wide world, so too America encour- 
ages free men to risk their capital 
and their reputations in projecting 
sight to distant places. A great build- 

ing, a bridge, a tremendous dam are 
magnificant works; but they are built 
best and lift the spirit highest when 
they represent the fruit of free men's 
dreams and of their vision and cour- 
age in making these dreams come 
true. We are proud and grateful 
that we have this heritage, and that 
our countrymen have the good sense 
to fight to preserve this right of free 
men to take a chance. 

III. Oliver E. Buckley 

It is natural that the Bell System 
should have an interest in television 
for, like telephony, it is a system of 

transmitting intelligence electrically. 
The fundamental problems of trans- 
mission for telephony and television 


The Bell System's Progress in Television Networks 


are the same, and the same medium 
of transmission which works for one 
will work for the other. In each 
case, one converts intelligence into 
variations of strength of an electric 
current, transmits those variations 
over an electric circuit, and then re- 
converts them. 

But there is a significant differ- 
ence in television and telephone sig- 
nals, in that the rate of variation dif- 
fers widely in the two cases: for 
telephony, thousands of variations 
per second; and for television, mil- 
lions. This is basically the result of 
the fact that we can absorb intelli- 
gence with our eyes much more 
rapidly than with our ears. In a 
given length of time, we can learn 
far more from looking at a picture 
with our eyes than we can get 
through our ears from hearing a de- 
scription of it. Indeed, the signals 
of television must vary roughly a 
thousand times as fast as those of 
telephony; or, to put it another way, 
television takes a frequency band a 
thousand times as wide as that re- 
quired for telephony. 

Except for this, the problems of 
transmitting telephony and television 
are nearly enough the same so that 
the facilities for transmitting tele- 
phone conversations can be adapted 
to transmitting television. 

Three Transmission Paths 

The three ways in which we trans- 
mit telephony, and how they are ap- 
plied to television, are: first, by wire; 
second, by pipes or tubes; and, third, 
through open space by radio. 

Any pair of wires which carries a 
telephone conversation can carry tele- 
vision, but because of the high fre- 

quencies involved it won't carry so far 
before the signals fade out to such 
a low level that it is necessary to 
boost them by an amplifier, or in 
telephone parlance a repeater. So 
we can use for television the very 
wires which are buried under city 
streets for telephone service, if we 
just apply to them enough amplifiers 
along the television route. It takes ac- 
tually about one amplifier every mile. 
This method works well in practice 
but has a limitation in that we can 
use for television only a few of the 
hundreds of pairs of wires in a par- 
ticular cable. If we try to use more, 
we get crosstalk between the different 
wires in the same cable. However, 
there are a lot of cables, and many 
television programs can be thus ac- 
commodated in existing cables. 

A slight modification of the ordi- 
nary telephone cable, by including in 
it wires spaced a bit farther apart 
and shielded by a wrapping of metal 
foil, will let us transmit any desired 
number of television channels in tele- 
phone cables, and in this case the 
amplifiers may be placed farther 
apart. We are going ahead with 
the development of cables thus 
adapted for television, and they 
promise to play an important part 
in local television distribution of the 

Those same methods of transmis- 
sion of television over wires could 
be developed for long distance trans- 
mission as well as for local, but we 
have found it more economical in 
long distance telephone transmission 
to send the signals through a pipe or 
tube with a wire down the middle. 
Such a tube is called a coaxial con- 
ductor, and a cable embodying such 


Bell Teltphone Magazine 


tubes is called a coaxial cable. Over 
a coaxial cable, we send hundreds of 
telephone conversations at once. Al- 
ternatively, we can transmit television. 
But because of the high frequencies 
involved in television, one television 
program demands the facilities which 
would accommodate hundreds of 
telephone channels. 

As presently equipped for tele- 
phony, the coaxial cable handles tele- 
vision quite successfully and with little 
loss of detail. We recognize, how- 
ever, that it does not go high enough 
in frequency at present to give the 
detail that will be demanded for tele- 
vision of the future. To meet that 
situation, we are hard at work push- 
ing up the limit of frequency of the 
coaxial system. 

Now a nice thing about the coaxial 
cable is that you don't have to change 
the cable to raise the limit of fre- 
quency, but only to replace the ampli- 
fiers by new ones more closely spaced 
and capable of working at higher fre- 
quency. We now transmit up to about 
3 megacycles and expect with new 
amplifiers to advance that limit to 7 
megacycles or more. But there is no 
basic reason for stopping there if 
ultimate demands go higher. 

At present, we are not planning to 
send more than one program through 
a single coaxial tube. Hence the 
number of programs we can transmit 
over a given route will depend on the 
availability of tubes in coaxial cables. 
The most we now have in any cable 
is eight, and some of these must be 
held for telephony. But if we are 
willing to look far into the future, 
there is no reason for assuming such 
a limit. Methods will eventually be 
developed for hollow pipe or wave 
guide transmission which can handle 

groups of television programs as we 
now handle groups of telephone chan- 
nels. There is no technical limit to 
what may be done with conducting 
structures. It is only a matter of 
economics and the demand for serv- 

The third means of transmitting 
television is through open space by 
radio. Again, the means which we 
are developing for telephony will 
meet the needs of television. Here, 
as with the coaxial cable, it is eco- 
nomical to carry in one bundle large 
groups of telephone conversations. 
Alternatively, or additionally, we can 
carry television. A system for doing 
this is already in operation over the 
20-mile span between our laboratories 
at 463 West Street, New York, and 
Murray Hill, N. J. The equipment in 
this installation has been engineered 
with the objective of ultimately meet- 
ing the severe reliability requirements 
of telephony, and it is a pattern for 
the equipment soon to be installed on 
the repeatered radio route from New 
York to Boston. This system may be 
looked on as an alternative to coax- 
ial cable. 

Now, it is a good question to ask 
what sets the limit to accomplishment 
in this problem of transmitting tele- 
vision signals. There are many fac- 
tors which I will not go into, but one 
which is outstanding. As you all 
know, the arts of television and long 
distance telephony have developed 
around electronic tubes, and their ad- 
vance has been coupled with the ad- 
vance of electronics. As means have 
been devised to make vacuum tubes 
operate at higher and higher frequen- 
cies, the way has opened for broad- 
band telephone transmission and for 


The Bell System's Progress in Television Networks 


the transmission of television. One 
limit after another has been over- 

I can illustrate by the transmitting 
tube presently in use in the West 
Street-Murray Hill beam radio cir- 
cuit. It is one of the Klystron type 
which was designed by Dr. Samuel 
of Bell Telephone Laboratories just 
prior to the war, and made use of 
principles discovered by the Varian 
brothers of Stanford University. The 
Klystron provided a way to overcome 
the limit set by the time it takes elec- 
trons to travel the small distances be- 
tween the electrodes in the amplifying 
tube. It does this by making use of 

Dr. John Pierce with the traveling-wave tube he 
developed at Bell Laboratories 

variation of velocity of electrons. 
This is sometimes referred to as 
bunching, for the distribution of elec- 
trons is varied along the electron 
stream in contrast to the older 
method of varying the number of 
electrons which could pass a grid. 

The availability of this type of tube 
has let us go to 6,000 megacycles or 
more, which means waves less than 
5 cm in length. These short waves 
can be focused into sharp beams, and 
this permits using low power to trans- 
mit from one station to the next. 
But this tube, too, has its limits. One 
cannot amplify very much with a 
single tube of this type. Also, the 
band width, and so the 
amount of intelligence 
or detail of picture, 
is limited, especially 
when you come to long 
distance transmission 
with many repeater 

Recently this limit 
has again been broken, 
with a new tube work- 
ing on quite new prin- 
ciples which I want to 
tell you about. It is 
a tube which was de- 
veloped by Dr. John 
Pierce of Bell Tele- 
phone Laboratories 
and is called a travel- 
ing-wave tube. It 
works by having a 
stream of electrons 
operate on an electric 
wave much as wind 
operates on the sur- 
face of a pond to build 
up waves on water. 
Here In a bulb at one 
end of it is an electron 


Bell Telephone Magazine 

gun which shoots a beam of electrons 
down a tube which is like a gun- 
barrel, to a target at the other end. 
Inside the gun-barrel is a wire wound 
in the form of a helix or spiral and 
running the length of the gun-barrel, 
but not connected to the gun or the 
target. This spiral wire carries the 
electric wave to be amplified, the 
wave being fed in at the end close to 
the gun and out at the end close to 
the target. 

In traveling the length of the 
spiral, the wave follows the turns of 
the spiral wire so it takes about 13 
times as long to go the length of the 
gun-barrel as it would to go the same 
distance in a straight line. Thus the 
wave is slowed up enough so that the 
beam of electrons going down the 
middle can be driven faster than the 
wave. This is the condition for the 
electron to push the wave or feed 
energy into it. Thus an electron 
wind blows the wave up and it comes 
out at one end much stronger than 
when it went in at the other. 

With a tube of this sort, we can 
amplify much more. The limit on 
band width is greatly extended. We 
can now think of transmitting num- 
bers of television programs and 
bundles of telephone conversations at 
once through the same system and 
over any distance that we can span bv 
an array of line-of-sight radio re- 
peaters. The same principles in tube 
design can also be applied with ad- 
vantage to coaxial and wave guide 

It should be pointed out that this 
tube has not been perfected. It is, 
on the contrary, an early develop- 
ment model, and has yet far to go 
before it becomes the practical and 
reliable instrumentality which can 
form a part of a commercial trans- 
mission system. But it does serve to 
illustrate my point, which is that 
there is no limit to what can be done 
in the electrical transmission of in- 
telligence. The only limit is in the 
intelligence to be transmitted. 

Being somewhat familiar with the Bell System's relations with 
the public, we can only say that we know of no other private 
(or public) organization more determinedly solicitous of its 
clients' welfare, except for a touch of paternal sternness about 
talking too long during wars and an unrelenting impression of 
conducting its whole vast, complex operation solely for you. 
Subjected to its bright, old world charm long enough, any 
susceptible person could begin to get the idea that when he 
picks up the receiver, a hush comes over the Bell domain, 
thousands of technicians spring to their posts, trumpets blow 
somewhere in the distance, massive gears begin to grind, and a 
million ergs of electrical energy are spent just so you can say 
— "Hello, dear. Will you bring a loaf of bread on the way 

From an editorial in the Main 
Line Times, Ardmore, Pa. 

The Bel I System' s War Record and Its Accomplishments 

of the Past Twelve Months Inspire Confident Expectation 

of the Rapid Restoration of Service Standards 

"Service to the Nation in 
Peace and War" 

fVilltam H, Harrison 

Editors' note: The following paragraphs give the substance of 
Vice President Harrison's address to the 2ist General As- 
sembly of the Telephone Pioneers of America in Cleveland on 
September i8. 

Things happen so fast and change 
so rapidly, it is hard to realize we are 
starting our second post-war year, 
and before touching on current mat- 
ters I want to make brief reference to 
the Bell System at war. 

There stands in the lobby of the 
A. T. & T. headquarters building in 
New York an impressive and beauti- 
ful memorial dedicated to Service to 
THE Nation in Peace and War. 
The Operating Companies, A. T. & 
T., the Western Electric Company, 
the Bell Telephone Laboratories, in- 
dividually and collectively gave sub- 
stance and life to that dedication dur- 
ing the trying four war years. 

The pattern of war devotion of the 
Bell System was the pattern of our 
nation as a whole. I had the good 
fortune to observe a fair cross-section 
of activities on the home front here, 

in Canada and in England, and on 
the combat fronts; and while in no 
way detracting from the valor and 
sacrifice of those doing combat duty 
— for their contribution to the cause 
of victory outdistanced all others — it 
is a privilege to pay tribute to the 
men and women in every walk of life 
and at every cross-roads of America 
who gave so much to make victory 
possible. Never before in the history 
of our nation or any other nation 
have a people so successfully and so 
unselfishly devoted themselves to the 
cause of war. I saw unbelievable and 
Indescribable sights: fine examples of 
energy, devotion, enthusiasm, in- 
genuity, in factories and shipyards 
and communication and transporta- 
tion work, in the Red Cross, the 
U.S.O., the Selective Service Boards. 
In common parlance, the butcher, 


Bell Telephone Magazine 


the baker, the candlestick maker gave 
long hours — late and all-through-the- 
night hours — many with anguished 
hearts for their loved ones in exposed 

Out of it all, never shall I cease 
to marvel at the spirit of America, 
and the spirit of our Allies of the 
British Empire and Soviet States of 
Russia — for I saw something of what 
the peoples of those countries gave to 
the cause of their victory and our 

Hand in hand with this pride in 
what our country did is pride in what 
you of the Bell System did, I wish 
time permitted telling of some of the 
spectacular accomplishments of the 
Operating Companies, and more par- 
ticularly of the products of that great 
ing team, Western Electric and the 
Bell Laboratories. On ship, in the 
air, on the ground in tanks and com- 
bat vehicles, behind the lines and in 
the forefront of the attack, their de- 
tection radar, gun firing radar, radio, 
wire communication, navigation aids, 
ammunition devices — all formed the 
backbone of the Army and Navy 
electronics equipment. Simply by way 
of illustration: — over half the radar 
used was the product of this great 
Bell System team. 

High-lighting the job, at battle sta- 
tions on every combat front, 68,000 
Bell System men and women in the 
uniform of their country gave strik- 
ing testimony that Bell employees 
know and accept the responsibility of 
citizenship. I saw them in far-off 
lands under strange and trying con- 
ditions, and I know of the character 
they made for themselves and for 
the Bell organization. In strange 

lands, comradeship of locality exerts 
a strong bond: Texans find comfort 
in other Texans, Californians or 
Brooklynites in fellow Californians 
and Brooklynites; but the bond of 
Bell comradeship is far more binding. 

There is great satisfaction that 
V— J Day found us ending a deter- 
mined and glorious period of service. 
Truly the war years were the Sys- 
tem's finest, unequalled for sheer bril- 
liance of performance and devotion 
to service. 

As we swung into the road of serv- 
ice to the nation in peace, we were 
faced with all the pent-up problems 
of the war years. 

Some 2,130,000 applicants were 
waiting for service. Our force was 
60,000 hands short. Our plant was 
overloaded in a measure beyond the 
engineers' reckoning. Our manufac- 
turer scarcely had ceased full time 
war production. 

There was apparent reason to count 
on a pause in telephone demand. 
Instead, new applications mounted to 
heights beyond any previous experi- 
ence, beyond predictions — almost, it 
might be said, beyond comprehension. 

For the 12 months to date, there 
has been a net new demand for 
3,400,000 main telephones — more 
than three times the highest pre-war 
year. Along with this, calling rates 
increased; material shortages became 
acute; the supply situation became 
worse, then better and now worse; 
war and wartime devotion and toler- 
ances faded. 

Burdened with what seemed an 
impossible task, 12 months of 
peace-time operations have produced 
achievement beyond expectation : the 
rapid reconversion of Western Elec- 


Service to the Nation in Peace and War 


trie, a truly remarkable job; building 
up of the System forces by some 
160,000 people; renewed determina- 
tion on the part of the men and 
women to serve. 

To illustrate better the magnitude 
of recruiting and training: 12 months 
ago the operating forces totaled 
350,000. During this period 315,000 
people have been added — a tremen- 
dous and expertly handled job. 

For the 12 months, total station 
gain has been 2,900,000 stations. 
Some 80 percent of the applications 
held a year ago are now cared for. 
There has been a 20 percent increase 
in volume of calls — with little addi- 
tional plant but with greater stability 
of service and with no loss of public 
good will and confidence. These, I 
submit, are achievements of distinc- 
tion — worthy of most cherished Bell 
System tradition. 

You know far better than I that 
the going has not been easy — nor is it 
likely to be easy for some time to 
come. As fast as the older held ap- 
plications have been cleared, they 
have been replaced by new ones in 
even greater number. And physical 
relief — although Western production 
and shipments already are well above 
the best pre-war levels and will be 
coming through in increasing volume 
in the months ahead — up to now has 
not been enough to make any con- 

siderable dent in existing shortages. 
In spots, facilities are not equal to 
the present volume of calls; and in 
these spots service labors and for 
want of facilities will continue to 
labor, and we will be unable for 
months to come to give the public the 
kind of service we know they should 
be receiving. 

Yet in considered perspective, more 
people are getting more service, lower 
cost service, and better service than 
ever before. And from here on in, 
with but a reasonable break from out- 
side suppliers and influences, and rec- 
ognition by regulatory bodies of in- 
creasing costs and need for large 
sums of new money for expansion, 
measurable progress will continue. 

Though there are hazards ahead, 
confidence born of proven competence 
runs through the entire fabric of the 
Bell System organization. It is this 
proven competence which soon will 
again adequately serve the nation in 

Pioneers can take satisfaction and 
modest pride in the knowledge their 
experience, their ideals, their deeds 
give force to this expression of confi- 
dence. And I want to close on the 
note of pride I know each of us has in 
being part of the Bell System — that 
great institution dedicated to the 
Service of the Nation. 

Farewell to TVRAF 

Keith S. McHuffh 

When the call letters of radio station WEAF were 
changed to WNBC, on November 2, Mr. McHugh, 
who is A. T. &" T. Vice President in charge of Public 
Relations, was invited to take part in the program of 
observance. His remarks follow: 

I SUPPOSE that relatively few of our listen- 
ers are aware that the American Telephone 
and Telegraph Company founded radio 
station WEAF in 1922 and managed it 
for the first four years of its existence. 
This was a pioneering venture in at least 
two important respects. 

First, we were deeply interested in ex- 
ploring every development that would make 
for better communication service, and 
WEAF was an extremely valuable proving 
ground, so to speak, for our study of radio 

Second, and even more important, this 
station, in the days of telephone company 
management, pioneered the American 
method of supporting the expense of broad- 
casting service by selling time on the air to 

Although it is now 20 years since our 
company brought its own experiments in 
broadcasting to an end, our service to 
broadcasting has steadily grown and will, 
I expect, continue to do so. Every day, as 
Ben Grauer here speaks to WEAF listen- 
ers, he is actually talking over a telephone 
line. Your voice, Mr. Grauer, goes over 
the line from the studio to the radio trans- 
mitter and then is broadcast to all of your 
listeners. And not only do our telephone 
lines connect studios and transmitters — 
135,000 miles of them also link stations 

with other stations to make radio networks 

Thus it is that radio listeners in New 
York or San Diego can enjoy a football 
game in Chicago, just as if it were being 
played in their own neighborhood. And 
for the future, we are now building new 
types of facilities which will make it possi- 
ble to send television programs over nation- 
wide networks. 

All of this is a far cry from the rather 
humble beginnings of WEAF in 1922. In 
August of that year we gave our first eve- 
ning program, in an improvised studio in 
the long distance telephone building at 24 
Walker Street, New York. The program 
included vocal and instrumental solos by 
amateur musicians among our local tele- 
phone people. There was also a baseball 
talk by Frank Graham, a recitation of a 
poem by James Whitcomb Riley, and music 
from records and a player piano. 

Naturally, we of A. T. & T. can't help 
feeling a bit proud that our station has 
played such a significant part in broadcast- 
ing history and achievement. Tonight we 
join in saying "hail and farewell" — fare- 
well to call letters which we instituted and 
which have been so long familiar to radio 
listeners — and a friendly hail to WNBC 
and to the new opportunities for radio 
broadcasting in the years ahead. 

Nitrogen Gas Introduced under Pressure Protects Service 

Both by Transmitting Signals When a Leak Occurs and by 

Excluding Moisture until Repairs Can Be Made 

Damaged Telephone Cables 
Send Their Own Alarms 

Leon JV, Germain 

Spring floods had disrupted service 
on two aerial long distance telephone 
cables crossing Pennsylvania by way 
of Shippensburg and Bedford. The 
two remaining cables, routed through 
Altoona and Lewistown, were taking 
a severe beating from the water and 
were already showing signs of trou- 
ble. It was not long after the first 
two cables had failed that alarm sig- 
nals at Lewistown and Altoona in- 
dicated damage to one of the two 
remaining cables, and early the next 
morning another signal in the Al- 
toona testroom heralded further 

Promptly after the first alarm, re- 
pair men were dispatched from both 
Lewistown and Altoona; but with the 
roads flooded, both crews were soon 
stopped. It looked like the final 
stage of a complete service interrup- 

tion on one of the most important 
Long Lines toll routes. 

Shortly after the second alarm 
came in, the Altoona testroom re- 
ceived a telephone call from a farmer 
near the scene of the trouble. He 
reported that the pole line near his 
farm had washed out, dropping the 
cables into the water. In fact, he had 
been out in a boat (most providen- 
tially available) and noticed bubbles 
coming up from one of the cables. 
He went on to say that he had often 
watched the section man putting gas 
into the cables, and as there were 
valves above water on each cable, he 
would be glad to attempt the job of 
gassing them if gas could be made 
available to him. 

(The farmer alluded to the stand- 
ard practice of keeping long distance 
telephone cables filled with nitrogen 


Bell Telephone Magazine 


Testing the gas pressure 
in a reel of cable before it 
is loaded onto a cable- 
laying train to be plowed 
into the ground. Low 
pressure would indicate a 
leak in the cable sheath 

gas under pressure, so 
that if the cable sheath 
Is punctured, the gas 
pressure prevents the 
entrance of moisture.) 

This obliging and 
enterprising individual 
went on to say that 
there was a dry mea- 
dow on his farm where 
a small airplane might 
land with the neces- 
sary equipment. 

Just about that time, 
two pairs in one of 
the cables failed — due, 
obviously, to moisture. 
It was plain that, with the loss of gas 
pressure, it would not be long before 
the cables were waterlogged. 

Flying weather was not good, but 
the Altoona airport was dry, and a 
pilot offered to try to reach the farm 
in a small cabin plane. He figured he 
could carry one man and a cylinder 
of gas, or two cylinders of gas. 
After considerable discussion, it was 
decided that the second cylinder was 
more important, and from what the 
farmer had said, it would not be too 
much. So the chief testboard man 
wrote out some instructions which he 
gave to the pilot, with a prayer that 
he and the farmer could work it out 
between them. Then he went back 
to the testroom, to be met with the 
news that two more pairs had failed. 

In the meantime, the farmer had 
marked off a landing strip. He sig- 
nalled the pilot and the latter tried 
for a landing. On the second at- 
tempt he made it, and he and the 
farmer hauled the gas cylinders over 
to the cables and connected them to 
the valves. 

Altogether, only eight pairs failed 
out of about 600 in those two cables. 
When the water receded a few days 
later, the sheaths of both cables were 
found to be punctured in several 

The idea of keeping nitrogen gas 
under pressure in toll cables as a 
means of constant protection against 
moisture developed about 20 years 
ago out of the use of vapors of vari- 

1946 Damaged Telephone Cables Send Their Own Alarms 


OLis kinds to test the tightness of cable 
sheaths. The results were so gratify- 
ing that all toll cables maintained by 
Long Lines are now kept permanently 
under gas pressure. Associated Com- 
panies have likewise adopted this pro- 
tective device, and the greater part of 
their toll cables are kept filled with 

Gas has done a remarkable job in 
reducing cable failures and maintain- 
ing the continuity of toll service. 
This was particularly important dur- 
ing the War, when every available 
facility was urgently required for the 
war effort. It is no less important 
now, when all toll facilities are so 
loaded that if serious troubles or fail- 
ures should occur on any of the toll 
cables, there are almost no spare 

''Flash testingr The 
sleeve covering the splice in 
this buried cable is being 
painted with soapsuds, 
which will bubble if gas 
can escape through leaks 
in the solder 

facilities available over 
which the services may 
be re-routed. 

It is significant that 
in 1929, when the pro- 
gram for gassing ca- 
bles was getting under 
way, there were 247 
pair troubles a month 
per 1000 sheath miles 
of ungassed under- 
ground cable; while in 
1945, with all under- 
ground cables under 
permanent gas pres- 
sure, this figure had 
dropped to I2 pair 
troubles a month per 1000 sheath 
miles. Similar figures for aerial 
cables show 91 pair troubles a month 
per 1000 sheath miles in 1929 against 
29 in 1945. 

It will be noted, in the figures given 
above, that the use of gas had a 
greater effect in improving the per- 
formance of underground cables than 
was the case with aerial cables. One 
reason for this is that underground 
or buried cables frequently lie in 
moist ground or even under a head of 
water so that any small crack or hole 
developing in the sheath may, with- 
out the protection of gas pressure, 
immediately wet the entire cable. 
Another reason is that underground 
or buried cable, protected by Mother 
Earth, is not exposed to certain haz- 

1 66 

Bell Telephone Magazijie 


ards resulting in damage to wires in 
aerial cables which gas pressure can- 
not prevent. Among these are fires 
near the aerial cable line, and bullets 
fired by unskilled or careless hunters. 
Toll cables are charged with dry 
nitrogen gas at a pressure of seven 
pounds per square inch in aerial and 
ten pounds per square inch in under- 
ground and buried cables, figured at 
a temperature of 60° F. These pres- 
sures will, of course, be greater at 
higher temperatures and less at lower 
temperatures. The higher pressure 
used in underground and buried cables 
is to afford greater protection against 
moisture when a cable is submerged 
under water. For every two feet of 
water over the cable, one pound of 
pressure will successfully resist the 
entrance of moisture. 

Gas-tight Cable Sections 

Cable under pressure is divided into 
gas-tight sections 10 miles or more 
in length. Every two or three miles 
an alarm "contactor" is installed. 
A contactor may be compared to a 
steam gauge, the needle of which will 
close a contact when the pressure in 
the cable is reduced to a predeter- 
mined value and thereby signal a 
nearby testroom. At about half-mile 
intervals along each cable, valves 
similar to ordinary tire valves are 
soldered into the cable. These per- 
mit the cablemen to determine the 
pressure at each of these points with 
considerable accuracy — and, if de- 
sired, to add gas at those points. 

Let us assume now that a section 
of aerial cable is filled with gas up to 
pressure. A rifle bullet intended for 
a deer drills the cable. It is a soggy 
Fall day of wind and intermittent rain. 
If it were not for the gas escaping 

through the holes made by the bullet, ! 
water would soon begin to soak the 
paper insulation of the 600 wires in- 
side that cable. But the gas pressure 
keeps the water out. 

At the same time, the escaping gas 
naturally causes pressure in the im- 
mediate vicinity of the hole to fall; 
and when it has dropped three or 
four pounds at an adjacent contactor, 
a contact closes. The contactor, 
through a pair of wires in the cable 
itself, rings a bell in the testroom 30 
miles up the pike. Although some 
gas has already been lost, it leaks 
slowly through even a relatively large 
hole, and the remaining reservoir of 
gas in the cable will keep out the 
moisture for a number of hours after 
a contactor has operated. 

Since all of the contactors in a 
considerable stretch of cable are con- 
nected to a single pair of wires, there 
is no indication as to which particu- 
lar contactor gave the alarm. How- 
ever, by the use of a Wheatstone 
bridge, the man at the testboard can 
measure the resistance of the circuit 
completed by the contactor, which 
will immediately tell him which con- 
tactor it is. 

Repair men are sen!: out to the 
vicinity of the contactor which oper- 
ated. As these are at two- or three- 
mile intervals, the men might have 
quite a time locating a small bullet 
hole on an aerial cable, especially if 
it was dark by the time they got 
there. They have the tire valves, 
however, to help in the search. They 
note the pressures at valves on either 
side of the contactor and find that 
these pressures drop off and rise 
again. Obviously the break must be 
between the two valves with the low- 
est readings. 


Damaged Telephone Cables Send Their Own Alarms 


This Is still not close enough, since 
the valves are half a mile apart. 
However, if the searchers plot on 
cross-section paper the pressures 
shown by a number of valves on 
either side of the low-pressure point, 
and then draw lines through them, 
thereby establishing the "pressure 
gradients," they will pin the location 
of the sheath break down with satis- 
factory accuracy. This operation is 
illustrated on page 168. 

Sometimes the physical damage 
suffered by a cable results in "crosses" 
or "grounds" on some of the wires. 
\r\ such a case the testroom man can 
make resistance measurements and 
locate the break without waiting for 
the repair gang to determine pressure 
gradients, for the Wheatstone bridge 
will put its finger down very close to 
the actual trouble. 

W here Gas IVould Have Helped 

In the early days, when gas in 
cables was unheard of, the only pre- 
vention against porous solder work 
and punctured sheath was to make a 
time-consuming and laborious visual 
inspection — which might or might 
not detect a defect. As long as joints 
were properly sealed and the sheath 
was unbroken, the cable would give 
no trouble; but when they were not, 
there was plenty of work for the out- 
side maintenance and testroom peo- 
ple. Almost any not-so-old-timer 
could tell stories of drowned cables. 
For instance — 

Some years ago, a group of cable 
splicers had just finished cutting over 
open wires into a brand-new toll en- 
trance cable. It was a raw day with 
high wind, and by late afternoon a 
blizzard had set in. The men who 
had been working on the poles were 

still thawing out frozen fingers when 
the report came from the testroom 
that one of the circuits which had 
been cut over had failed. While they 
were looking for trouble at the termi- 
nals, another circuit went out, and 
from then on it was a succession of 
trouble reports. 

Measurements located the trouble 
near a river crossing. There was 
nothing for the splicers to do but 
spend most of the night back-track- 
ing on their job, cutting the wires 
back to the old open-wire line. 

The next day they dug down to the 
cable beside the river crossing. 

The pipe at the left of the pole, nungjrom 
a gas -filled buried cable, permits testijig of 
both the gas pressure and the contactor 
alarm at this point, and also enables the 
cableman to talk with the test board 


Bell Telephone Magazine 


There was a hole in it, covered with 
a clumsy wooden clamp. Investiga- 
tion showed that some workman, dig- 
ging a ditch, had struck the cable 
with his pick a number of days be- 
fore, and instead of reporting it, he 
had covered the hole with the clamp. 
The storm on the day of the cutover 
had raised the water level until it 
reached the cable. Gas pressure 
would have kept the water out of the 
cable and given warning of the break, 
so that it could have been repaired 
before the cutover was made. 

On another occasion a cable in a 
duct underneath a bridge failed when 
a flood submerged the duct. When 

the water receded, a large hole was 
found in the cable sheath, evidently 
caused by lightning. As the cluct was 
normally dry, it is not improbable 
that the cable had lain in this condi- 
tion for months. 

These are typical examples of what' 
used to happen before the days of 
gas pressure. Holes and cracks 
would develop in cable sheaths, but 
in the dry season no one would have 
warning of them. When the rains 
descended and the floods came, every 
testroom in the storm area would be 
in an uproar. In contrast to this, gas 
pressure tips off neighboring test- 
rooms soon after a break of any kind 



PoleorM.'H. No. 
Pressure Reading 













36 38 40 

Valve Locations • Feet x 1000 


Cable _-^^'5^'4 -_e£m. ji 
Gas Section Nd._^ 

Testboard Report No._?r^_ 

Plotted Location _^4L'^ M.^- Z/.. 

Actual Location. i^l'f^Z/ ogje Time 

Error in Feet-<f-fl of Test ^''^/<'-f( Start )_-«'-^'*C.( Finish )^/lSj>_AM 

Made By _/l/<y._. Checked By. Cause of V^^YA^J'lSM.^^/f, ^t^Mx CLOC/px Temp._<?^t'5_ _ 

A pressure graph., showiiig how readings at valves on either side of a low-pressure point 
may be charted to locate the point of cable sheath damage 

1946 Damaged Telephone Cables Send Their Own Alarms 


occurs in a sheath, permitting repairs, 
before service is affected. 

Developing Gas Methods 

An early use of gas for the purpose 
of testing the tightness of solder 
work in a telephone cable was initi- 
ated about 19 1 2 by the Bell Tele- 
phone Company of Pennsylvania. In 
this use, plant forces gave a cable 
what was called the "flash" test: dry 
air was forced into a section of the 
cable and they listened for gas leaks 
and checked gauge readings at either 
end of the cable for 10 or 12 hours. 

Dry air was also recognized as a 
means of dessicating a wet cable. 
When the air was forced through 
such a cable, it dried the paper in- 
sulation — just as one of those hot air 
devices in a washroom dries the 

The great difficulty experienced in 
the use of air was to free it from 
moisture. Moreover, the air-condi- 
tioning apparatus usually consisted of 
a compressor and a number of large 
storage cylinders containing trays of 
calcium chloride, put there to absorb 
the moisture. This apparatus was 
cumbersome, and required care to 
produce air sufficiently moisture-free. 

Soon after World War I, the 
French introduced the process of test- 
ing cables with an absorbent gas, car- 
bon dioxide. This was much more 
effective and economical than the 
chemically dried air. 

Although the carbon dioxide ap- 
paratus was superior to the air-dry- 
ing equipment, it had numerous dis- 
advantages. Unless the tanks were 
kept at a reasonably high tempera- 
ture, carbonic snow formed at the 
outlet, which did not improve the 
flow of the gas. x-\lso, water formed 

in the bottom of the tank, which had 
to be drained off. 

In 1925, the A. T. and T. Com- 
pany's Department of Development 
and Research (now incorporated 
with Bell Telephone Laboratories) 
issued the results of tests with oil- 
pumped nitrogen, which indicated 
that it was superior to either carbon 
dioxide or dried air. While the 
supply of this was limited, sufficient 
quantities became available and it 
has since been universally used in the 
Bell System. It has none of the dis- 
advantages noted above for carbon 
dioxide. It is obtained from the 
manufacturer in cylinders under a 
pressure of about 2000 pounds per 
square inch, and regulators are used 
to reduce the pressure at the outlet to 
the desired value. 

In July 1925, Long Lines made its 
first extensive use of nitrogen gas for 
testing, on the aerial line being built 
between South Bend and Toledo. 
While the main thing this test proved 
was that the soldering job on this 
cable was 100 percent in the sections 
tested, it suggested the idea of mak- 
ing similar tests on an underground 
cable. At that time the "C" cable 
was being placed between Boston and 
Providence. The splices on this un- 
derground cable were "flash tested" 
with gas pressure and 38 small leaks 
were found in the 760 splices tested. 
Shortly after this, in the Spring 
of 1927, gas pressure was introduced 
into the old Philadelphia-Reading 
"A" cable for a distance of 30 miles, 
as a permanent protection from ex- 
cessive moisture trouble occasioned 
by ring cuts and cracks in the sheath. 
It was on this cable that the first gas 
pressure plugs were introduced. 


Bell Telephone Magazine 


These plugs, shop manufactured sec- 
tions of impregnated cable about lO 
ft. long, spliced into the main cable, 
prevented the gas from flowing out 
of the terminals and into the many 
branch cables. The first arrange- 
ment had valves at intervals of 2^ 
miles, with the gas under 15 to 20 
pounds' pressure. 

After the cable was charged, daily 
pressure gauge readings at the valve 
points indicated low pressure in two 
sections, each about three miles long. 
With the object of locating the cause 
of leakage in these two sections, a gas 
flow indicator was developed. This 
consisted of a U-shaped glass tube 
filled with oil. Since the gas pres- 
sure decreases as the leak is ap- 
proached, by connecting the indicator 
between two valves a few feet apart, 
the column of oil would be depressed 
on the high-pressure side and rise on 
the low-pressure side — which would 
be in the direction toward the leak. 

This worked all right for large 
leaks; but when the location of small 
leaks was attempted, it was soon real- 
ized that the old familiar Charles's 
Law operated inside telephone cables 
as well as anywhere else, and conse- 
quently gas expands in a section of 
higher temperature and flows to one 
where it is lower. This introduced 
considerable diflliculties in the search, 
since it upset the small differences in 
pressure on each side of the leak. 

One ingenious proposal for the 
solution of this diflliculty was the use 
of scented gas to locate trouble. Gas 
scented with peppermint was tried, 
but it was found that the paper in- 
sulation around the wires in the cable 
absorbed the peppermint flavor, and 
the escaping gas was odorless. Other 

odors were equally ineffective, and the 
problem in this particular case was 
finally solved by isolating the low 
sections through the installation of 
temporary gas plugs. This led to the 
introduction of permanent gas-tight 
plugs at lo-mile intervals to reduce 
the length of the section under test. 
These plugs were made in the field 
by cutting away a section of the 
sheath, covering it with a lead sleeve 
and filling the sleeve with a hot wax 
or asphalt compound. 

Gas Pressure Is Standardized 

During the next few years, inter- 
est in the possibilities of gas pressure 
to reduce cable failures was at a high 
level in the Long Lines Department. 
Late in 1927, instructions were issued 
to the field to pressure-test all cables 
being installed, in order to locate con- 
struction defects. About this time, 
it was also decided to place all Long 
Lines underground toll cables under 
permanent pressure, and in 1929 a 
similar treatment was decided upon 
for aerial toll cables. All the experi- 
ence with methods and materials 
which had been gained during the 
trials was then issued in instruction 

In the Summer of 1931 an exhaus- 
tive series of tests was made by the 
Bell Laboratories on a 25-mile sec- 
tion of underground cable between 
Morristown and Chester, N. J. As 
a result of these tests, it was con- 
cluded that the pressure In under- 
ground cable should be reduced to 
nine pounds and contactors set to 
operate at six pounds, and in aerial 
cable the pressure should be six 
pounds with contactors set to oper- 
ate at three pounds. The contactor 


Dafnaged Telephone Cables Send Their Own Alarms 


spacing was set at two miles, the 
valves (for recharging and pressure 
testing) were spaced at 3,000-foot 
intervals, and the length of a gas sec- 
tion was set at 10 miles. 

Thp: Morristown tests resulted in 
numerous other important contribu- 
tions to gas pressure practices. Engi- 
neers developed a formula for charg- 
ing cables with gas and introduced a 
new type of gas flow indicator and 
mercury manometer for locating 
small leaks. 

The gas flow indicator is a hollow 
glass valve so arranged that when 
gas in the cable is by-passed through 
it from valves installed a few feet 
apart on the cable, the flow of gas 
will blow ammonia fumes over a 
small strip of chemically treated 
paper and cause it to turn pink. The 
direction of flow is determined by 
observing at which end of the valve 
the treated paper changes color. 

The manometer consists of a long 
calibrated glass tube containing a col- 
umn of mercury similar to that in a 
thermometer. When the manometer 
is connected to a valve and the gas 
pressure in the cable applied, the col- 
umn rises. This allows a much more 
accurate reading of pressure than haci 
been possible with the standard pres- 
sure gauges, and thus greatly in- 
creases the precision of leak location. 
A similar test was undertaken a 
few months later on an aerial cable 
between New York and Southfields. 
Among other things, these tests 
! showed that variations in tempera- 
I ture throughout an aerial cable were 
i too small to seriously mislead cable- 
i men in locating a large leak, but did 
cause difficulty in finding a small one. 
It was also found that there were 

certain periods when temperature 
changes were at a minimum, at which 
times it was much easier to find a 
small leak. The best times, the tests 
indicated, were on a cloudy day or in 
the interval between dawn and sun- 
rise, — a discovery not hailed with de- 
light by cable maintenance men. 

Rejiuiug the Process 

Some idea of the exhaustive nature 
of the studies of the subject of vapor 
phenomena in cables is revealed by a 
glance at the instructions covering 
gas pressure work. For example, 
corrections must be applied for 
change in altitude of a cable climbing 
a mountain, as well as for variations 
in temperature and in the barometer. 
Allowance must also be made for the 
different resistances to the flow of 
gas in cables of various types and 
make-up. Gas sections longer than 
the original 10 mile length have been 
found practicable in the newer cables, 
and where two cables are on the same 
route they are connected together at 
the plugs to form so-called circular 
gas sections. This latter arrange- 
ment is a distinct advantage from a 
protection standpoint, since it does 
away with the danger that a leak oc- 
curring close to a plug will quickly 
drain the gas on the plug side and 
allow water to enter the cable. 

In order to keep the maintenance 
and supervisory personnel posted and 
trained in the latest developments 
and methods, gas pressure training 
courses have been held throughout 
the Long Lines Plant Department. 
A novel feature of these courses is 
apparatus which visualizes the be- 
havior of the gas pressure in a cable 
when leaks occur. This consists of 


Bell Telephone Magazine 


about looo feet of small-size cable 
simulating a normal gas pressure sec- 
tion, with 2 1 manometers connected 
at 50-foot intervals and mounted 
side by side. These manometers 
show the pressure along the cable and 
permit the men to see at a glance just 
what happens to the pressure under 
various conditions. 

Long Lines Training Program 

This training program has been di- 
vided into four different courses. A 
half-day appreciation course is given 
to Long Lines and Associated Com- 
pany supervisory and management 
people who are broadly interested in 
the subject. The remaining three 
courses, each of two weeks' duration, 
are respectively: for those field peo- 
ple who are actively engaged in plac- 
ing and maintaining cable under pres- 
sure; for those directly concerned 

with the supervision of gas pressure 
work; and for those engaged in engi- 
neering gas pressure systems. 

The apparatus illustrating be- 
havior of gas pressure in a cable was 
made up into several portable ex- 
hibits which traveled all over the 
country. This apparatus and the 
four training courses have brought 
the facts about gas pressure to hun- 
dreds of Bell System employees — to 
those in the Long Lines who have 
had the job of keeping an eye on that 
Department's 18,000 miles of sheath, 
and to Associated Company people 
who are engaged in the installation 
and maintenance of toll cables. 

The protection to service afforded 
by gas pressure is becoming increas- 
ingly important with the introduction, 
In the last few years, of K-Carrier 
systems in existing voice frequency 
cables, whereby twelve telephone cir- 
cuits are superimposed on one pair of 

A lectnre-demonstratioii in the fields part of a tra'Diing prograni to keep maijitcnmice 
and supervisory personnel posted on methods and developmejits of gas pressure testing 

1946 Damaged Telephone Cables Send Their Own Alarms 173 

Some of theZdemonsh-ation apparatus 
used to show the behavior of gas in cable. 
Above: ifioo feet of small cable., con- 
nected to manometers at 50 foot intervals., 
simulate a normal gas pressure section. 
Right: Such 50 foot sections of cable are 
interconnected to form the 1,000-foot 
section used in the demonstration 

wires. Such protection is even more 
important for the Bell System's new 
coaxial cable network, which is now 
being installed throughout the coun- 
try. Without it, the concentration of 
so many important circuits under one 
cable sheath would be hazardous. 

As IS USUALLY the case in regard to 
telephone facilities, the most exhaus- 
tive sort of test cannot write the last 
chapter to gas pressure technique. 
For example, the introduction of a 
new type of cable — the buried cable 

— resulted in a need for more ac- 
curate leak locations. The various 
types of sheath protection with which 
these buried cables are covered may 
cause gas to flow under the covering 
for a considerable distance from the 
actual break in the sheath before it is 
released. However, refinements in 
methods and equipment for locating 
a sheath break have been developed, 
and specialists in gas pressure feel 
that whatever problems may be 
created by new designs of cable, they 
will be able to solve them. 


Bell Telephone Magazine 

Thoroughgoing Preparations Permitted Changing All of a 

Great City s Telephone Numbers with a Maximum of 

Public Cooperation and a Minimum of Difficulty 

Philadelphia Goes "2-5 


Harold S. LeDuc 

From the days of vaudeville — and 
probably long before that — Philadel- 
phia has been joked about, satirized, 
and maligned as a city where any 
change is regarded as painful, any 
deviation from "things as they have 
always been" carefully shunned. 
Philadelphians, the old saying goes, 
are "taller and fairer than Chinese, 
but not quite so progressive." 

But recently a change was accepted 
by Philadelphians — with great good 
nature — that makes these allegations 
seem an undeserved and libelous label 
on a great and growing city. 

Literally overnight a change took 
place in Philadelphia which called for 
the cooperation of all telephone users. 
It was a change which at first glance 
might seem trivial — but which ac- 
tually was far-reaching in both its Im- 
mediate and Its ultimate effects on the 
city's telephone service. 

Since Philadelphians first started 
using dial telephones, early in the 
'twenties, they had been accustomed 

to dialing the first three letters of the 
central-office name, then the four 
digits that make up the telephone 
number. Last July 5th, they changed 
this long-established habit with one 
brave stroke and instead began to 
use only the first two letters of the 
central-office name, plus a newly 
added digit, and then the four digits 
of the telephone number. 

A small change. It might seem — 
merely the substitution of a figure for 
a letter. 

But dialing is such a familiar, 
every-day act that with most tele- 
phone users it's almost as natural and 
automatic as breathing. And, para- 
doxically perhaps, a small change in 
a deep-set habit is harder to make 
than a big one. 

In any case, the change was made 
smoothly and painlessly. Philadel- 
phians took It In their stride, and the 
new way of dialing is fast becoming 
second nature for them. 

The shift from 3-4 to 2-5 dialing 


Bell Telephone Magazine 



to all users of telephones 
in the City of Philadelphia 

EffwUv« July 5th. a fiirur« will be ttddnl to 
the (ume of each Central Office in Phitadel- 
phift . . «ad tK« Agwr* It t« b* v«W lit rflollnfl 
riALOniCI NAMl. 

Therv will be no chancre in any Central Office 
name , . and no change is involved in the 
Lkat (our fisurea which you dial to comolete 
your calla. 

Here is an example : CCN n)pocker-3725 will 
become PE nnypacker 5-3725 . . . and you wlII 
simply dial PE 5-3725 instead of PEN-3725. 

Notice that you will atill make only seven 
turns of the dial, }usl &i yuu do now 
noun . . . INSTEAD 

delphjans with belter, faster, and more fiex- 
ible telephone service. It is essential to meet 
the KTOwIb re<juirement3 of the nation's third 
largest city and to pave the way for aervicc 
improvement!) that will come in the years 

Su let's repeat : On Friday, July 5th — the day 
after Independence Day — you will start dial- 
inK two l«M«r( and o Apvr*, and then the four 
fiirures of the telephone number, Jiut«od of 
thwmm iMtmrt and then the four figures of the 
telephone number. 

An ZiyorUat HsBsa^* 

To Our Phll»d«lpM« Cuatossrai 

St&rtlog Juljr Stb. ft figure will ba add»d to the aaaa of MOh PbllMlelpU* 
C«ntr»l Offlo* Aad that figure 1* to bs used In dialing 10 pi»c& of the third 
latter of tb* Central Omoe aeoe. 


For jTii^le — PBBajp*aker 372S beoosM 

PAin/p«okar &-37£C ftod to roaoh It job dial 

n £-37t& iMteMl of XCS Z72b 

the ool/ dlffurenoe le that ;oa dial a "6" Instead of an *B". 

oa JULT em, ei&i3X ul saai lO; 

1. Tear out the tefflporury oard (It ftaa the flrat 3 lettora of the Central 
Office oaae In large oapltals) on top of the noober plate on tout 
telepboDe. Twu oan lift It out eaailj vith a nail file or nngernall. 

was made for a number of sound 

First, it provided for a vast num- 
ber of new central-office codes. Of 
course, when three letters are used in 
a dialing code, they must be the first 
three letters of the central-office 
name — and only a limited number of 
such combinations make good names 
which are easy to dial correctly and 
are easily understood when passed 
over a circuit or left in a message. 
Under the two-letters-and-a-figure 
system, Philadelphia can now have 
not only a "PEnnypacker 5" central- 
office, but also a "PEnnypacker 6," 
"7," "8" and so on. And that's im- 
portant as a city's telephone system 

Second, direct dialing of Philadel- 
phia numbers by telephone users in 
the city's widespread suburbs is just 
around the corner. As fast as we can 
get the dial equipment, suburban of- 
fices will be converted to dial and 
direct customer dialing to Philadel- 
phia will begin. In fact, it is already 
in effect in one suburban office — 

This, too, will call for a greatly 
increased range of unduplicated cen- 
tral-office codes. For instance, in 
Philadelphia we have a Chestnut Hill 
central office. In the suburbs, there 
are Cheltenham, Chester Heights, 
Chester Springs — all beginning, you 

Newspaper advertisements^ booklets^ and 
letters mailed to subscribers were among 
the elements of the carefully timed and 
coordinated educational campaign which 
kept customers fully iriformed of the prog- 
ress of the program and of their part in it 


Philadelphia Goes "^-5" 


notice, with CHE. Under the new 
system, the code for Chestnut Hill 
is "CH— 7"; other figures will be 
added to the "CH" of the various 
suburban offices. 

Third, the new dialing system is a 
necessary step in the extension of in- 
tertoll dialing. Here again the prob- 
lem is to avoid duplication of dialing 
codes over a very much wider area. 
The 2-5 system will provide the 
needed flexibility. 

Of course, 2-5 dialing is not a 
new story. It was introduced in New 
York back in 1930, and has been in 
use not only there but in northern 
New Jersey and other parts of the 
country. What made it an unusually 
interesting problem in Philadelphia 
was the timing. 

The change to 2—5 was introduced 
to Philadelphia at a time when the 
city's central offices were carrying 
record-breaking volumes of traffic — 
often beyond the capacities of the 
offices — with the result that delays 
in dial tone had reached serious pro- 

Inevitably, the introduction of new 
dial codes would carry the danger of 
an increase in traffic volumes, since 
customers dialing old codes would 
have to dial the call again after learn- 
ing the new code. Should the per- 
centage of wrong codes dialed reach 
the proportions encountered in other 
communities in the past, it might seri- 
ously affect the service in the heavily 
loaded offices. 

So the problem was simply this: 
to effect the change with negligible 
wrong dialing by the telephone-using 
public, thus reducing to the minimum 
the added burden of extra calls. 

One obvious course to follow would 
have been to add sufficient switch- 

board positions, hire enough opera- 
tors, and intercept all calls dialed in- 
correctly. Even in normal times this 
would have been difficult and costly; 
under present conditions, we simply 
could not get the equipment and we 
could not get the operators. Ac- 
tually, a much better plan was de- 
vised, by installing the type of re- 
cording equipment used to give 
weather reports and using that to in- 
tercept calls dialed with the old codes. 
So the success or failure of the 
change hinged almost entirely on get- 
ting the story over to Philadelphia's 
telephone-using public in such a way 
that they would understand the na- 
ture of the change and remember it 
when dialing. And, since this in- 
volved a change in ingrained habits, 
it could be accomplished only by what 
is known as "saturation" advertising. 

Planning Started Far Ahead 

The transition program started a 
year ahead of the cutover date, and 
with it started the advertising cam- 

The first step was to change the 
number plates on all Philadelphia 
telephones, and this involved explain- 
ing what it was all about. Before the 
change was made, Philadelphians be- 
gan reading about it in newspaper ad- 
vertisements, bill inserts, and news 
releases, and hearing about it on the 
radio. They were told why we were 
changing the number plates, and their 
alarm as to any effect the change 
might produce in their service was 

The change of nearly half a mil- 
lion number plates — a tremendous 
job in itself — was done in part by 
high-school boys employed for the 


Bell Telephone Magazine 


Window displays an- 
nounced the news in 
three ditnensions 

purpose during the 
summer of 1945, in 
part by our regular 
installation forces, 
and in part by mail. 
It is of interest that 
a telephone check of 
those mailed — some 
70,000 — revealed 
that customers found 
very little difficulty 
putting the plates on 
their telephones. 

Next came the job of completely 
re-setting the type for the Philadel- 
phia telephone directory and giving 
proper instructions for its use. This 
large job was complicated by the fact 
that with this issue it became neces- 
sary to split the Philadelphia book 
into two volumes — Alphabetical and 
Classified — because of the tremend- 
ous increase in its size resulting from 
the increase in telephones during the 
last year. 

The big task of delivering more 
than a million Philadelphia telephone 
directories began June 3rd of this 
year and was completed by July ist. 
The educational and informative ad- 
vertising, starting well in advance of 
the time of directory delivery, ex- 
plained as its first phase the directory 
situation. Customers were told to 
keep their new directory under wraps 
and to continue to use their old direc- 
tories until July 5th, then to start 
using the new book. The directories 

themselves carried a special imprint 
with this message. 

Then came an intensive advertising 
campaign of the transition date and 
what telephone customers should do 
when that date rolled around. Seven 
o'clock in the morning, Friday, July 
5th, had been selected as the time of 
cutover in order to take advantage of 
the long holiday week-end when nor- 
mal traffic would be low. 


Saturafio/i" Advertising 

Philadelphians began hearing and 
reading about July 5th as early as 
February 7, 1946. They heard about 
it through radio announcements, 
newspaper advertisements, bill in- 
serts, newspaper stories, car cards, 
truck posters, and such publicity 

Publicity in connection with the 
change has been called "saturation" 
advertising — and "saturation" ad- 
vertising it truly was. 


Philadelphia Goes "^-5" 


One large advertisement per week 
appeared in Philadelphia's four daily 
papers from May 13th through June, 
and one advertisement per day in the 
morning papers of July ist, 2nd, 3rd 
and 4th, and in all dailies for the 
three days following the cutover. In 
addition, three small advertisements 
a day were scattered through the 
papers the week of July 8th. Phila- 
delphia's 34 "neighborhood" week- 
lies and 21 German, Italian, Polish, 
Hungarian, Jewish and Negro papers 
also carried advertisements. 

The nine radio stations in Phila- 
delphia carried a total of 441 one- 
minute spots (7 hours and 21 
utes of air time) as well as 206 
tion breaks" of 25 words each, 
"breaks" were translated into 
dish, Polish, and Italian for use on 
Philadelphia stations carrying foreign 
language programs. 

Bill inserts going to Philadelphia 


customers told the story in the May, 
June, and July issues. 

Even the blind — always great users 
of telephone service — were not for- 
gotten. Through the Volunteer Serv- 
ice for the Blind, 3,500 code cards in 
Braille were sent to the city's sight- 
less telephone users. 

Perhaps the most important single 
piece of publicity in connection with 
the change was the letter mailed to 
all Philadelphia and Suburban Phila- 
delphia customers just before the cut- 
over. Letters were mailed to 3 5 5,000 
Philadelphia customers — as far as we 
can ascertain, the largest single mail- 
ing ever made in the city — as well as 
to 125,000 customers in the Phila- 
delphia suburbs. 

One convincing bit of evidence that 
mail from the telephone company 
receives close attention from the pub- 
lic is the surprising number of returns 







■■■■-■• SAO 54W> 0^41 «Ai»4$* 

v.. "i;^' -■^■•: ■::■■>■.. i^^M •:''isc- 

This exhibit was used during ''open house" programs to demonstrate 
on a large dial the change from figure to letter for the third pull 


Bell Telephone Magazine 


Every opportunity was grasped to con- 
vey information to groups of persons 
who would be particularly affected by 
the number change 


Lasno. )»M 


Come us&re U quadrante — Per ottenere il Numero Telefonico Coiretto 

nuovetc con ■ttendone U ricevltore. Se vol 

ItaU II gancio o sftstegno del ricevltore. forse po- 

' Bvere 11 numero stugUatO. 

Ascoltale per II tono prodotto dal quadrants, 

o ^ come un contlnuo ■'hum" U quale vlene 

leinito quando requlpagglamento 6 pronto per nee- 
la vcMtra chiamola 

Qulndl slrate ncl quadrante 1 trc numeri che 
:tampatl qui sotto In fronle al nome dpirutflclo 

Cenirale che desiderate, ed lnunedlat&mente sesul- 

talc con U numero telelonlco. 


Pf ■illPton 9- 
nirslnut Hill 1- 
crmberland B- 

BU 9 
CH 1 
Cll R 

in: liware E- 

DE 6 
DE 8 

FVercri-en 6- 

EV e 

Fl driily 2- 


GArneld S- 


GE rmantoiTn B- 
CLftdslone S- 

GE • 

desiderate chlamare PEnn {packer 

Uffici Centr&li 

GR £ 

6-3125. glTftt* I numeri l-l-scd ImmedlatamenU »e- 
guiwie con I numeri S-l-l-5 

4 Se U nomero che vol state chlam»ndo iBcIude 
una lettera dl Un« In comune ("party Une.T glraW 
un numero sddlzlonale per la lettera del "partr line." 
come segue: 

Per la lettera J. numero del q:uadrante i. 

Per ta lettera M. numero del quadrante t 

Per la lettera R. numero del quadrante i. 

Per la lattera W numero del quadrante %. 

Per esemplo : se desiderate chlamare MAaajniak 

8-4352-W, glrale 1 numeri s-i-g ed lmmedlatament« 

scguitate con 1 numeri i-j-s-l c qulsdl c«l numero t. 

rOplar S- 

KAclIlT S 
RE t enl 9 
RltUnboose 6> 
ROiboro S 
SA icamore X> 
SAraloCB S- 
SHerwood 1- 
SO mcrton 6--- 

CR anile 2- GR 2 47t PO plar S- PO 5 7B 

GR e«nwood 3- . GR 3 473 RA clIlT S R 4 S 

HAnrock 4- HA 4 4Z4 RE s enl 9 RE S 

Howard 8- RO S 

JEfTmon S- JE 5 

Klnjrsler 5- KI S 

LIvfnntnn 9- LI 9 

LOrnst 7- LO 7 

Lombard S- LO 3 

MAJntk 5- MA S 

MAnaynnk 8- .MA B 

MArket 7- MA 7 

MArfalr 4- MA 4 

Michigan 4- Ml 4 

Ml'rlctpal 6- MU 6 

NEbraika 4- NE 4 

OfBcial J- OF J 

PE nnTpatker S- PE 5 

Pllxrlm S- PI S 

Chlamate telefonlche dl nfflcl Centrall. che non sono elencstl In questa llsta. tono chlamate Puorl'ClttJk 
Per fare una chlan:iBt« per numero Puorl-ClttA irlrate nel quadrante U numero O Rosso per avere U t«l»- 
fonlsta operatrice e datele II nome deUa ClttA che desiderate e quindl U relatUo numero telefonico 

Per fare una chlamata Fuorl-Cltti ad una speclflca persona, una chlunatA per appuntamento, uqa chlft* 
mata per roessagglo. od una chlamatA per la quale tl desldera che U costo aU rivcrsato, glrate nel quadrtnlc 1-1>1 
e dale le InformazJonI nguardanti la chlamata alia teletonlsta operatrice. 

TE nnessee t* , 
TOirrtdale 4- 

TRInltj 7- - 
Victor 4 

WA iDDt I 

WAmir «• 
WIn&hlrkoB 1' 

RD 8 

f)( 2 


8H 7 

SO c 

BP 4 

ST 4 

_ TE • 

. TO 4 

TR 1 

VI 4 

_WA 1 

_WA 4 

Chiamate per Emergenza 

II. una emergenia glrate nel quadrante U I De*'d«o rapportare un lnc«iuUo. 
{ Desldero un poUflotto. 
numero o Buiso per avere loperatrlce t dlte : | Desldero un'amtnilAncs. 
E date alia telefonlsta operatrice II vostro numero del teleTono. 
Per Ulflcio Pederale dl Investlgtulone 01rat« ?^.C— S-s-t-ft 

Chiatnate p:r Scrvizio 


Intormazlonl Directory 01r«t« 4-1-1 Asslstenca 01«W oRoiiO 

Servldo Riparazlonl Olrvte 6-1-1 Ufflclo Buslneu 01r»le e-l-S— •-0-S-S 

Non vl t ne&sun carlco per chlamate d'emargenza. o per chlamare Informazlonl Directory, Servlilo rlpftn^onl 

o ItJfncIo Business, 


of the business reply card enclosed 
with the Philadelphia letter. This 
card, requesting a personal telephone 
directory for listing numbers with the 
new codes, was returned by 138,000 
customers — about 39 percent of the 
total. PBX extension users accounted 
for 112,000 additional copies of the 
Personal Directory. 

The Final Test 


That this "saturation ' campaign 
did a job was well evident when July 
5th finally came. 

At 7 A.M., July 5th, the announce- 
ment machine used for intercepting 
went to work. Customers who dialed 
the old three-letter codes which had 
been changed heard the recorded 

message, "Will you please dial the 
first two letters and five figures as 
shown in the new directory? Thank 

But between 7 and 8 A.M. of the 
cutover day, only 22 percent of calls 
were dialed with the old codes, and 
by the busy hour the percentage had 
dropped to 12. 

This good start in the early morn- 
ing was most important. It made it 
possible to intercept all incorrectly 
dialed calls where the new code dif- 
fered from the old up to 10 A.M. and 
practically all such calls between 10 
A.M. and 12 Noon. After this time, 
it was possible to intercept all incor- 
rectly dialed calls from Friday Noon 
until 10 A.M. Monday. 


Philadelphia Goes "-^-j" 


While only 5 per cent of the total 
calls in the city were incorrectly 
dialed, interception had to be discon- 
tinued in three offices between 10 
A.M. and 12 Noon Monday because 
of the high volume of traffic. After 
noon on Monday, July 8th, it was 
possible to intercept all incorrectly 
dialed calls. 

If the publicising of the change had 
been less effective and Philadelphians 
had been as slow to accept change as 
they are supposed to be — if, say, they 
had dialed the old codes on as much 
as 40 per cent of calls — only half of 
them could have been intercepted. 
This would have prolonged the transi- 
tion period and might well have come 
close to putting some of the most 
heavily loaded offices out of service. 
At first customers were inclined to 
"talk back" to the recorded voice 
when they were intercepted and to 
ask questions. Others attempted to 
dial again without first hanging up. 
So the recorded message was changed 
to, "Will you please hang up and dial 
the first two letters and five figures 
shown in the new directory? Thank 
you. This is a recorded message." 

This resulted in much less talking 
back to the machine and fewer at- 
tempts to dial without hanging up. 

It wasn't long until "The Voice" 
of the intercepting machine had be- 
come something of a local celebrity. 
The girl who had made the record- 
ing was interviewed on a local radio 
program, and a Philadelphia column- 
ist told of a lady who never dialed 
incorrectly except when she did so 
purposely just to hear the voice cor- 
recting her. The columnist's only 
suggestion, by the way, was that the 
recorded message should tack on 
something like, "Is that clear now, 
Toots? Toodle-00," so that he could 
reply, "O.K., Babe." 

By the end of the first week fol- 
lowing the cutover, Philadelphians 
were dialing the old codes on only 3.2 
percent of calls; after two weeks only 
2.5 percent; by July 24th, 1,9 per- 
cent. As this is written, they are 
dialing the old codes on only 1.2 per- 
cent of calls — slightly more than one 
call in a hundred. 

So the next time you hear someone 
say that Philadelphians won't accept 
change, you can say, "That's not the 
way I heard it!" 

Although Williams' shop was dingy and ugly, and crude in 
all its arrangements, from my first day there I was happy and 
contented. And when I grew more skillful in using tools and 
was entrusted with the construction of complete machines, I 
often felt an exaltation in my work akin to the ecstacies of my 
lonely walks. In the woods I felt myself a living part of all 
creation ; now I was thrilled with the knowledge that I myself 
was creating as I made stubborn metal do my will and take the 
shape necessary to enable it to do its allotted work. I should 
have been surprised then if anyone had called those moments 
poetic, but I know now there was some noble poetry in my life 
at Williams' shop. 

From "Exploring Life," the autobiography of 
Thomas A. PFatson; D. Appleton ^ Co., ig26 


Bell Telephone Magazine 






























TelepViones per 100 Population 

Telephones in the Post- IV ar JVorld 

James R. McGowan 

At the beginning of the first peace-time 
year since 1941, the United States had 
approximately 28 million telephones, or 54 
percent of the world's 51.5 million tele- 
phones. During the four war years, this 
country's telephones increased about 19 per- 
cent, despite shortages of materials and 
labor ; while those of the rest of the world 
gained only four percent. If the telephone 
companies had been able to install all the 
telephones requested, there would have 
been another 10 percent increase in the 
United States during that period. 

The latest available data in respect of 
the world's telephones are shown in the 
tables and charts on the accompanying 
pages, taken from a bulletin recently issued 
by the Chief Statistician's Division of the 
American Telephone and Telegraph Com- 
pany. Similar bulletins have appeared each 
year since 19 12, with the exception of the 
war years during World Wars I and II. 
The current issue, presenting data gener- 
ally as of January i, 1946, is necessarily 
restricted in scope, owing to conditions re- 
sulting from the recent war. As data con- 
cerning plant destruction or subsequent 
restoration are not available for many of 
the belligerent nations, allowance has been 
made for these factors in estimating con- 
tinental totals. 

The United States, with its telephone 
system operating wholly under private 
ownership, had 21 telephones for each lOO 
of the population, as compared with an 
average development of 2.2 telephones per 
100 population for the entire world. Aus- 
tralia, France, Great Britain, Russia, and 
Sweden, which together comprise 12 per- 
cent of the world's population— or just 
about twice that of the United States — had, 
on the average, only three telephones per 
100 population, or one-seventh of the tele- 
phone development ratio found in the 

United States. These countries reported 
the largest five telephone systems owned 
and operated by national governments. 

The largest two urban telephone centers 
are still those of New York and Chicago, 
with 2,002,310 and 1,204,525 telephones, 
respectively. These telephones exceed in 
the aggregate the total number of tele- 
phones in Asia, Africa, and Oceania com- 
bined, even though these continental areas 
account for more than 60 percent of the 
world's population. In addition to New 
York, there are six cities of the United 
States, each with more than one million 
population, which have in total well over 
three and a half million telephones: more 
than all the telephones serving our good 
neighbors in the Western Hemisphere. 

In foreign countries the telephones are 
mainly concentrated in large urban centers. 
In the United States, on the other hand, on 
January I, 1946, the total telephone de- 
velopment for each 100 persons in com- 
munities having a population of less than 
50,000 was 16. No one city in the United 
States contains as much as 8 percent of the 
total number of the nation's telephones, 
whereas the capital cities of Belgium, Den- 
mark, and France each contain about one- 
third of their country's telephones. Over 
29 percent of all telephones in Norway are 
in Oslo, while more than one-quarter of 
those of Sweden are in the Stockholm area. 

San Francisco, with a density of 43.3 
telephones for each 100 inhabitants, has a 
higher telephone development than any 
other city in the world. Among the large 
foreign cities, only Stockholm, with a de- 
velopment of 38.4 telephones for each 100 
of the population on January i, 1945, can 
approach San Francisco's leadership, tele- 
phonically speaking. 

(Continued on page 184) 

1 84 

Bell Telephone Magazine 


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Notes on Mobile Radio Service 

H. I. Phillips 

Wije — Central, can you get me 
my husband ? He's out somewhere in 
his car. 

Central — What's the number? 

Wije — He's Wesley Finch and he 
drives a Buick roadster. 

Central — I'll have to have the 

Wije — I can't recall the number, 
but it's a blue car with red wheels 
and . . . 

Central — You'll have to look in 
the auto-to-home phone book. 

Wije — But we didn't get a book 
yet. It's not my fault if the company 
is so slow. The name is Wesley 
Finch, and it's a Buick with one front 
headlight bent. There's a cute little 
squirrel tail on the radiator. 

Central — Sorry. I can't put 
through a home-to-car call that way. 

Wije — Is that so? Well, we just 
paid $22 to have that phone put in 
and it's too bad if the company can't 
give us a little cooperation. . . . 

Central — Do you wish "Informa- 

^i/e— What for? She wouldn't 
be out in the car with Wesley, would 
she? . . . Oh, here it is! . . .1 just 
found the number on a desk pad . . . 
It's 78 & 4!/^ anti skid white walls. 
. . .No, that must be the tire 
number. . . . 

[Ultimately the wife gets the num- 
ber and gets the call through.] 

Wesley (going around a curve) — 
Yes. Hello. Aw nuts! Why doncha 
look where ya going, ya big stumble- 

Wije— Why Wesley! 

Wesley — Hello, who's this ? Scram, 
ya fathead ! Nobody crowded ya ! 

Wije — ^Wesley ! Such language ! 
This is Mollie. 

Wesley— Oh, hello, Mollie. Oh 
yeah? You and who else? Gwan go 
jump in the lake. 

Wije — Don't you talk to me like 
that, Wesley Finch ! 

Wesley — Sorry, Mollie, dear. I 
wasn't talking to you. A big bum 
just gave me some lip. Go on honey. 
Have any trouble getting me? 

Wije — Trouble! I could get you 
easier if you were in a runaway bal- 
loon. Look, I forgot to tell you this 
morning that Mr. and Mrs. Bunny — 

Wesley — What missing money ? 
Louder! There's a truckload of junk 
behind me and one of those 1926 
Model T's ahead. 

Wije — I say I forgot to tell you 
about Mr. and Mrs. Bunny who . . . 

[There is now no answer. She 
jiggles the hook.] 

Central — Number ? 

Wije — I had my husband on the 
phone but you cut us off. 

Central — I didn't cut you off. He 
must have detoured. 

Wije — Wesley wouldn't detour in 
the midst of a conversation. 

Wesley (suddenly) — Here I am, 
honey. I just went through a tunnel. 

Motor Cycle Cop (pulling up un- 
observed) — Hey, you. Pull over! 

Wesley — This is very rude of you, 
officer. Cancha see, I'm busy on the 
telephone ! 

From the Sun Dial. Reprinted by cour- 
tesy of the Ne<w York Sun. 

Bell Telephone Magazine 


Harold S. LeDuc 

James R. McGowan 

Who's Who and What's What 

(Continued from page 131) 

A. T. &T. in 1943. In September of 1945 
he was released from military service as 
Major General and Chief, Procurement 
and Distribution Service, Signal Corps, and 
was re-elected to his position as Vice Presi- 
dent, Department of Operation and Engi- 
neering, A. T. & T. Company. Among 
the many forms of recognition which have 
been bestowed upon him may be mentioned 
the recent awards of the Distinguished 
Service Medal by the War Department; 
of the Most Excellent Order of the British 
Empire, degree of Honorary Commander ; 
and of the Hoover Medal for Distinguished 
Public Service. 

If Leon W. Germain exhibits a consid- 
erable degree of familiarity with telephone 
cables, their capabilities and their vagaries, 
it is probably because he has been working 
with them during most of his Long Lines 
career — and that began in 1909. By 191 1 
he was cable tester on the Boston-Washing- 
ton duplex cable project — the first of its 
kind — and in 19 14 he went to Chicago as 
chief cable tester on the Chicago-Highland 
duplex toll entrance project. He was sub- 
sequently division plant engineer, general 
plant supervisor, and division plant super- 
intendent in several parts of the country. 

After 10 years as general plant superin- 
tendent of Long Lines' western area, Mr. 
Germain was appointed General Plant 
Manager of the Long Lines Department in 

The "saturation" advertising to which 
Harold S. LeDuc refers in his article 
Philadelphia Goes "2—5" is primarily a cant 
expression, but the word does not greatly 
exaggerate the accomplishment. For it is 
no secret around Philadelphia that the op- 
erating departments of the Bell Telephone 
Company of Pennsylvania credit the cam- 
paign which Mr. LeDuc describes with 
much of the success of a major undertaking 
which was put across with a minimum of 
difficulty. Entering the General Informa- 
tion Department of the Pennsylvania com- 
pany in 1926 as advertising assistant, he 
progressed through the public relations 
functions to become general advertising 
manager in 194 1, and Vice President — 
Pubblic Relations last October, succeeding 
Peter L. Schauble. 

After being absent from these pages 
since 1944, Telephone and Telegraph Sta- 
tistics of the World put in a welcome ap- 


Bell Telephone Magazine 

pearance again, this time under the appro- 
priate title of Telephones in the Post-War 
World and from the sharply pointed pencil 
of James R. McGowan. Recently back 
with the Chief Statistician's Division at A. 
T. & T., Mr. McGowan spent more than 
four years of military duty with the Sig- 

nal Corps in statistical and administrative 
work in Washington and with the Eco- 
nomics Division of Military Government 
in Berlin. During his nine years of Bell 
System service he has been busy with the 
statistics and economics relating to foreign 
telephone development. 

It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remain- 
ing before us — that from these honored dead we take increased 
devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure 
of devotion. . . . 

Those words of Abraham Lincoln are as full of meaning 
today as when they were first spoken at Gettysburg 83 years 
ago. We offer his immortal thought, this Armistice Day, both 
in tribute to our fighting men of World Wars I and II and as 
a prayer for lasting peace. 

We in the Bell System know what war means. During the 
first world war, there were 24,900 stars in our service flag, and 
276 of them were gold stars. 

In World War II, 69,100 Bell System men and women 
served in the armed forces, and 1339 gave their lives. 
Throughout our organization are many who served in both 

So we pause tonight for a moment of grateful tribute to 
them — and to veterans everywhere — who took up arms to de- 
fend the faith, ideals, and integrity of our country. 

From the Telephone Hour radio 
program of November 11, 1946 

ir/ic .r%^^ V 

±y uinucr xuui 

yy mn^j iLf^O-^ 



Progress in Extending Bell Bjiral Telephone Service • John J. 
Hanselman and Harold S. Osborne 

The Coast Guard Operates through Communications 
Admiral Joseph F. Farley 

The Growing Use of Radio in the Bell System • Francis M. Ryan 

Crisis in River Grove • Hugh Moffett 

''Hello, England": A One-way Transatlantic Talk 
Willlam p. Banning 

Nassau — The Bell System's Conservation Specialist 
William A. Scheuch 

lone Sr-n^elc^aph Company 'NewYorl- 

Bell Telcphonc^m^e 

ff inter 1946-47 

Progress in Extending Bell Rural Telephone Service, John J. HanseJman 

and Harold S. Osborne, 193 

The Coast Guard Operates through Communications, 
Admiral Joseph F. Farley, 203 

A Salute to the Spirit of Service, Walter S. Gifford, 224 

The Growing Use of Radio in the Bell System, Francis M. Ryan, 225 

Crisis in River Grove, Hugh Mofett, 238 

"Hello, England" : A One-way Transatlantic Talk, 
William P. Banning, 248 

Opportunity, Leroy A. Wilson, 252 

Memo to a Girl at a Switchboard, Harold W. Stephens, 254 

Nassau — The Bell System's Conservation Specialist, 
William A. Scheuch, 256 

Commercial Broadcasting Pioneer: The WEAF Experiment, 1922-1926, 

A Book Review, 267 

Index to Volume XXV Available, 223 

^^ The ideal and aim. of the American Telephone and Telegraph Company and its Associated 
Companies is a telephone service for the nation, free^ so far as huynanly possible, from 
imperfections, errors, or delays, and enabling anyone anywhere to pick up a telephone 
and talk to anyone else anywhere else, clearly, quickly and at a reasonable cost'' 

A Medium of Suggestion ^ a Record of Progress 

Published for the supervisory forces of the Bell System by the Information Department of 
American Telephone and Telegraph Co., ig^ Broadway, New York 7, A^. Y. 
Walter S. Gifford, Pres.; Carroll O. Bickelhaupt, Sec; Donald R. Belcher, Treas. 

Who's Who & What's What 

in This Issue 

It was just two years ago, in the issue of 
this Magazine for Winter 1944-45, that 
John J. Hanselman and Harold S. Os- 
borne outlined the Bell System's plans to 
resume its rural telephone service program 
as soon as the end of the war should re- 
lease the necessary men and materials. 
It is now about a year and a half since V-J 
Day, and Messrs. Hanselman and Osborne 
are able to give an interim progress report 
which sets forth an extraordinary achieve- 
ment: installation of more than 400,000 
rural telephones, in the face of real diffi- 
culties, during that period. Another way 
to say it is that the hardest two-fifths of a 
three-to-five-j^ear objective of another mil- 
lion rural telephones has already been ac- 
complished since the Japs cried "uncle" to 
Uncle Sam on the deck of the Missouri in 
Tokyo Bay. 

Mr. Hanselman's Bell System career 
started with the Department of Operation 
and Engineering of the A. T. & T. Co., 
which he joined in 1921. In the years 

since, he has been successively an engineer 
in the rate section and a group head in sev- 
eral sections of the Commercial Division, 
sales engineer, and rate engineer. Since 
1943 he has headed that Division as As- 
sistant Vice President — Commercial. Mr. 
Osborne joined the A. T. & T. Co. in 
1 9 10 as an engineer in the then Trans- 
mission and Protection Department. Be- 
fore becoming Chief Engineer in the O. 
and E. Department in 1943, he had been 
transmission engineer, operating results en- 
gineer, plant engineer, and assistant chief 

Between May 10, 1909, when Joseph F. 
Farley was appointed a cadet in the U. S. 
Coast Guard, and January i, 1946, when 
he was appointed Commandant with the 
rank of Admiral, a lot of water has gone 
under the keels of the vessels he has served 
on or commanded. Listen to the musical 
names of them: Mohawk, Seminole, Onon- 
dagaj Yaniacraw, Scally, Seneca, Gresham, 

•/III %^ 

John J. Hanselman 

Harold S. Osborne Admiral Joseph F. Farley 

Bell Telephone Magazine 


Francis M. Ryan 

Hugh Moffett 

William A. Scheuch 

Morrill Mojave, McCall, Wilkes, Pont- 
chartrain, Modoc. In between were tours 
of shore duty, of course — one including, as 
might be expected of the author of the 
article beginning on page 203, five years as 
Chief Communications Officer. That was 
followed by a year and a half during 1942- 
43 as District Coast Guard Officer of the 
Eighth Naval District, at New Orleans, 
which won him the Legion of Merit for 
exceptionally meritorious conduct in the 
performance of outstanding services. On 
his subsequent return to Coast Guard 
Headquarters in Washington, he served as 
Assistant Chief Operations Officer and then 
as Chief Personnel Officer until his appoint- 
ment as Commandant. Among the organi- 
zations of which he is a member are the 
U. S. Naval Institute, the Society of Naval 
Engineers, the Society of Naval Architects 
and Marine Engineers, and the Newcomen 
Society. He is an active member of the 
Propeller Club, Port of Washington D. C. 

The pattern of Francis M. Ryan's 
scientific interest was established at least 
seven years before he joined the Bell Sys- 
tem in 1920. During that period he served 
as a ship radio operator, a radio inspector, 
and a college instructor in radio. From 
1920 to 1936 he was a member of the tech- 
nical staff of the Bell Telephone Labora- 
tories (and its predecessor, the Engineering 

Department of the Western Electric Com- 
pany), and again in 1942-43. From 1936 
to 1942 and from 1944 to early 1946 he 
was Radio Engineer of the A. T. & T. Co. 
Since the last-named date, his title there has 
been Radio Coordinator. He is a Fellow 
of the American Institute of Electrical En- 
gineers and of the Institute of Radio Engi- 
neers. Between the time his article was set 
in type and the Magazine went to press, 
A. T. & T. announced its intent to build 
an experimental radio relay system, of the 
New York-Boston type Mr. Ryan describes, 
over the much greater distance between 
New York and Chicago — which seems to 
point up his reference to the groiuing use 
of radio. 

The inability to understand how a tele- 
phone works which Hugh Moffett rue- 
fully confesses may perhaps be due to an 
unfortunate experience he underwent as a 
youth, during his first visit to the me- 
tropolis of Kansas City. "They had dial 
phones," he writes, "everything being up 
to date there even at that time. I tried to 
call up an uncle, but failed because I was 
dialing all the letters of the exchange. No- 
body had told me." Eleven years in news- 
paper work in the middle west were fol- 
lowed by appointment as a Time and Life 
correspondent in Denver in 1944 and trans- 
(Continued on page 202) 

Brisk wi)id aloft: Secunen aboard a Coast Guard ocean weather ship adjust an anemom- 
eter^ so that its correct information may be incorporated in the weather reports radioed 
to shore every three hours. See the article beginning on page 2oj 

With One-third of a Million Installations Made in Rural 

Areas in 1946, the Percentage of Farms with Telephones 

In This Country Is Greater Than Ever 

Progress in Extending Bell 
Rural Telephone Service 

John J. Hanselman and 
Harold S. Osborne 

In the year just ended, the Bell System's operating companies added 
about 330,000 telephones in farm homes, country stores, and rural 
establishments of various kinds. This was more than three times the 
increase in rural installations ever made in any previous year in System 
history. Added to these are the more than 75,000 telephones installed 
in rural areas in 1945, bringing the total increase in rural telephone in- 
stallations in two years to something more than 400,000. And last year 
alone, as those companies resumed their aggressive pre-war program 
for extending service to more and more farms,* they set nearly 300,000 
telephone poles — enough to cross the continent about six times — and 
strung about 130,000 miles of wire. 

The objective of the Bell System, as stated early in 1945, was to 
add another million rural telephones within three to five years after 
men and equipment became available. Already, in consequence of the 
whole industry's determined efforts, a higher proportion of America s 
farms are enjoying the benefits of telephone service than ever before. Even 
though war needs for telephone equipment had to come first during 
nearly four years of conflict, that proportion has risen from 25 percent 
in 1940 to the 40 percent estimated for the end of 1946. 

*Sce " More and Better Telephone Service for Farmers," Magazine, Winter 1944-45. 


Bell Telephone Magazine 












































^ ^ ^ 



1946-47 Progress in Extending Bell Rural Telephone Service 195 

Making Good the Promise 

Such figures, Impressive as they are, 
take on new vitality when ilkistrated 
by what the Bell System companies 
are bringing about in such rural areas 
as, for example, Springdale, Arkan- 

That locality had been served by a 
number of ground-return telephone 
lines owned by farmers thereabouts. 
Their lines had deteriorated, and the 
need for better service was urgent. 
The Southwestern Bell Telephone 
Company was asked to extend Its im- 
proved facilities into the area. 

The entire area was surveyed, 
therefore, and plans were formulated 
to provide service on an area-cover- 
age basis — as discussed more fully on 
a later page. 

To the project were assigned a 
commercial representative, and an en- 
gineer with construction experience. 
These two, with the help of the 
Springdale manager on rights of way 
and similar matters. Interviewed pro- 
spective customers and laid out the 
lines. In 37 working days they com- 
pleted their interviews and the basic 
plans for building about 100 miles of 
new pole line and stringing more than 
300 miles of open wire and 14 miles 
of cable to serve the area around 
Springdale. By the year's end, the 
whole job, which cost slightly more 
than $100,000, had been completed 
— and the number of customers had 
jumped from 196 to 517. 

The diagrams on pages 196-197 
portray more vividly than can those 
figures the results of the Bell Sys- 

Enough telephone poles were set in rural areas in ig46 to carry a line across the 

continent about six times 


Bell Telephone Magazirje 


The activity at Springdale, Ark., is typical 0/ the Bell System s extension of lines to 
serve whole rural neighborhoods. At the beginning of 1^46, telephones in the vicinity, 

as represented by the dots, were relatively few 

tern's rural program as carried out 
effectively in one area — with lines 
extended to provide service to entire 
neighborhoods, so that all who apply 
for service can have it. Other ex- 
amples of such coverage would but 
repeat the story. 

Manpower and Equipment 

Such an undertaking as that at 
Springdale can go forward smoothly 
and productively because behind It 
there lies a coordinated plan. 

Even before the war ended, a great 
deal of pertinent Information was 
gathered together by telephone men 
who drove up one country road and 
down the next. Detailed maps show- 
ing the location of rural families 
along those roads were prepared, and 
thousands of present and potential 
telephone customers were asked to 
tell what they felt rural telephone 

service should Include — what Im- 
provements and new features would 
make It more pleasing and useful to 

On such facts as these have been 
built the working plans for extending 
and Improving telephone service in 
rural areas. And to execute those 
plans promptly, specially trained 
forces have been added and have been 
assigned specifically to the rural job, 
under the direction of men of long 
experience. At each step of the way, 
from the planning to the final con- 
nection of the customer's service, the 
work Is scheduled, responsibilities are 
assigned, and men are made available 
to accomplish the job. 

An Important feature of the Sys- 
tem's program has been a substantial 
increase In the amount of new pole 
line which the companies will build 
for each new customer without 

1946-47 Progress in Extending Bell Rural Telephone Service 197 



I •• < • • • 

■ ••• 

■ • 

• •• • • 

• •»«•,% 

▼ • • •••• • ••• *i I !• ,•• 

• ••• 

• •• 

• • 

■ BHHHffSIHMar^ •••• 

•• ••• I •• •• 

• I* • • • • 

■ «— 1» — — 

•• • ••»• • •; . • , 



• • • • • 

• • • 

• •* • • •• • 

• ' • • • 


By the end of the year, as the result of a Southwestern Bell Telephone Company area- 
coverage project, there were two-and-a-half times as many telephones in service there- 

charge. Construction expense to the 
rural customer, therefore, has been 
greatly reduced and in most instances 
completely eliminated. Surveys made 
in more than 1,500 rural areas in- 
dicate that more than 80 percent of 
all rural families can get telephone 
service today without having to pay 
for pole line construction. The free 
construction allowance has been in- 
creased substantially — it is now usu- 
ally half a mile per customer — and 
is being applied on an "area cover- 
age" basis. 

This means that where lines are 
being extended to serve a particu- 
lar section, any unused portion of a 
half-mile-per-customer allowance is 
credited to other customers in the 
neighborhood who require more. 
For example, if 10 new customers 
live within four miles of an existing 
pole line, and 10 more live six miles 
farther out in the same direction. 

service can be extended to all 20 cus- 
tomers without a construction charge 
to any. 

For customers who may still need 
to pay some costs for construction, 
the charges have generally been re- 
duced, and most Bell companies offer 
a liberal plan for payment in small 
monthly installments over periods up 
to five years. 

Neiv Construction Methods 

New methods and new machinery 
have increased considerably the prac- 
ticable range of rural telephone lines. 

One example of this is the use of a 
high-strength steel wire, developed 
in recent years, for building long- 
span pole lines and laying them out 
straight across private property to 
minimize the number of corners. 

Another example is the use of a 
new power-driven machine for dig- 
ging pole holes and placing anchors 


Bell Telephone Magazine 


When telephone 
service is planned 
for a rural area, 
the first step is to 
consult the people 
who live there. 
Often, as here, a 
Commercial rep- 
resentative inter- 
views a farmer in 
his field about his 
need for a tele- 

The unit consists of an earth auger 
driven by a gasoline engine through 
a flexible shaft. It is placed on a 
truck and the auger is raised and low- 
ered by the truck winch line and der- 
rick. Under favorable soil condi- 
tions, the new digger can bore holes 
as large as 16 inches in diameter to a 
depth of nine feet. Due to its light- 
ness and flexibility of operating posi- 
tions, it can be used on light-weight 
construction trucks instead of the 
heavy-duty trucks required with the 
older types. 

Buried wire may be used in place 
of open wire where soil conditions 
are favorable and only one or two 
pairs will be required. The rubber- 
covered wire developed by the Bell 
Telephone Laboratories prior to the 
war has been improved consider- 
ably during the past year and is 
now undergoing field tests. It con- 
sists of a pair of i6-gauge copper 
conductors covered with rubber in- 
sulation, which is surrounded by a 
braided steel wire armor, over which 

is placed an outside jacket of tough, 
durable neoprene. Engineers are 
working on improvements in the 
truck-drawn plow which installs the 
wire in a furrow about two feet deep, 
and covers it over, in a single opera- 

New Ways to Provide Service 

In addition to the construction meth- 
ods just described, some new rural 
telephones — particularly those re- 
motely situated — are being connected 
by various recently devised methods. 
These include power-line and tele- 
phone-line carrier, "joint use," and 

Power-line carrier is a means of 
extending telephone service to farms 
remote from existing telephone lines 
but close to electric power lines. This 
is accomplished by using the power 
line simultaneously for power serv- 
ice and telephone service. The high- 
frequency telephone current "hitch- 
hikes" a ride along an electric power 
line and at a designated spot hops off 

1946-47 Progress in Extending Bell Rural Telephone Service 


onto a pair of telephone wires run- dustry calls It, Is not new. Urban dls- 

nlng to the customer's premises. tributlon plants have employed joint 

The equipment Installed In a cus- pole-line construction for years, but 

tomer's house is not greatly different 
in appearance from that for most 
ordinary telephones in use today. 
The electronic apparatus Is encased 
In a box slightly larger than an ordi- 
nary bell box. Utilizing house cur- 
rent, its receiving vacuum tubes are 
energized continuously so telephone 
calls can be received at all times. 
The apparatus at the central-office 
end of the power line Is similar In de- 
sign but necessarily a little more 
complicated. At this writing, seven 
power-line carrier installations are In 
service in six states. Five are oper- 
ated by Bell telephone companies and 
two by Independent telephone com- 
panies over the lines of four REA 
cooperatives and three private power 

Another new but similar method of 
voice transmission which Is expected 
to become increasingly Important in 
rural areas is telephone-line carrier. 
Toll circuits have for some time em- 
ployed carrier systems to increase the 
number of long distance conversa- 
tions which can be carried on pole 
lines. Today, carrier equipment 
similar to that developed for power 
lines is being used on rural telephone %M*.^ 
lines serving Norton Mills, Vermont, 
on the Canadian border, where an ex- 
perimental project is being conducted 
by engineers of the New England 
Telephone and Telegraph Company 
and the Bell Laboratories. 

Another method of bringing tele- 
phone service to more rural families 

It was not extensively used in rural 
areas. New techniques and facilities 
have been developed since the war 
and have proved satisfactory in field 
tests. Power and telephone organi- 
zations are arranging for their wid- 
est possible application. 

One of the most Important fea- 
tures in the development of joint use 
is the high-strength steel wire prevl- 

is the joint use of long-span power- ^, , ////,./ 

,. •', , , • J 1 1 Ineyi a long-spaii pole iiiie IS built to bring 

hne poles by electric and telephone the high-strength steel wires into the neigh- 

companies. "Joint use," as the in- borhood 


Bell Telephone Magazine 


ously mentioned, for it possesses suf- 
ficient strength to be used over the 
long spans commonly used on rural 
power lines. 

Some potential telephone custom- 
ers live out of reach of both existing 
electric power and telephone lines. 
This is particularly true in western 
United States, where there are vast 
stretches of ranch country. To reach 
these remote spots. Bell Laboratories 
engineers have been experimenting 
with radio telephony for rural tele- 
phones. Last August, engineers of 
the Mountain States Telephone and 
Telegraph Company and the Labora- 
tories made trial installations of 
radio telephone equipment and other 
facilities at Cheyenne Wells, Colo- 
rado, which enable eight ranch fami- 
lies to be connected with any other 
telephone in the Bell System network. 

The eight families live in widely 
separated locations, ii to 21 miles 
from the Cheyenne Wells telephone 
central office which serves them. 
Four of the ranches are connected to 

the central office by short-wave radio; 
the other four are reached by com- 
paratively short open-wire lines from 
one of the nearby ranches having 
radio telephone equipment. Thus 
the telephones form an eight-party 

Transmitting and receiving equip- 
ment and other apparatus are in- 
stalled at the ranch houses and the 
telephone central office. Calls are 
made and received in substantially 
the same way as with any ordinary 
telephone. Service so far has been 
satisfactory; and on the basis of this 
experience, the development of a 
standard system is being undertaken. 

Improvements in Rural Service 
on the Way 

Providing telephone service to the 
waiting thousands of families in rural 
areas is at present, of course, the first 
order of business. So, although the 
Bell System program includes the re- 
duction of the number of parties on 
rural lines to not more than eight, 

Next, branch lines are brought to the farmers' homes 

1946-47 Progress in Extending Bell Rural Telephone Service 


ri And finally the installer 
arrives with the eagerly 
awaited telephone 

lines have been tempo- 

I rarlly overloaded In or- 
der to give service to 

I as many people as pos- 

j sible. 

j The program calls 

. for not only the ultl- 

I mate reduction In the 
number of telephones 
on a line, but also the 
replacement, whenever 
practicable, of the 
crank-type telephone by 
dial or other modern 
type of instrument. 

Party-line ringing, 
too. Is being improved. 
It is proposed to make arrangements 
so that the customer hears the rings 
of not more than half the parties on 
his line, and In many cases still fur- 
ther Improvements can be made. 

Activities to Improve and modern- 
ize rural service are temporarily 
limited by the need to use available 
wire, cable, and central office equip- 
ment to extend service to new cus- 
tomers. Nonetheless, the objective 
still is to Incorporate in rural service 
as many of the features of city serv- 
ice as practicable. 

Service Station Lines 

Service-station lines (also called 
farmer lines) are important In the 
rural picture. In 1946, more than 
200,000 customers were served by 
such lines In Bell rural areas. Bell 
System "good neighbor" activities to 
advise and assist service station cus- 
tomers In improving the condition of 

^"-mmsi. ' -«^«*. 4 

their lines have been substantially ex- 

A booklet, "The Farm Telephone 
Manual," which tells In non-technical 
terms how to build service station 
lines and how to repair them and 
keep them in good working order, has 
been prepared and made available to 
all service-station organizations with- 
out charge. It has also been fur- 
nished to many independent and con- 
necting companies. 

What the Independents Are Doing 

Paralleling the Bell System's rural 
program Is the independent telephone 
Industry's own accelerated program 
to extend telephone service In their 
rural exchange areas. Mr. R. A. 
Lumpkin, President of the U. S. In- 
dependent Telephone Association, 
has stated that figures of the Inde- 
pendent companies Indicated a gain 
of about 100,000 rural telephones 


Bell Telephone Magazine 

for the year just ended. In an earlier 
statement, he had estimated that the 
independent telephone companies ex- 
pected to spend more than $10,000,- 
000 on rural plant construction dur- 
ing 1946. 

What Lies Ahead? 

Much has been accomplished in the 
past two years; much yet remains to 

be done. The pace of these activities 
will no doubt be accelerated. Rural 
construction projects exceeding those 
of 1946 are already fully engineered 
in anticipation of an increase in the 
supply of materials, and the Bell Sys- 
tem's rural program moves steadily 
forward toward its goal of more and 
better telephone service for more 

Whos Who & Whafs What 

(Continued from page 191) 

fer to Chicago in 1945 as a hije correspond- 
ent. Those who read the account of River 
Grove in the January 6 issue of Lije will 
know why Mr. Moffett was asked to con- 
tribute a layman's account of the disaster 
there to these pages. 

When William P. Banning retired as 
an assistant vice president in the Informa- 
tion Department of the A. T. & T. Co., at 
the end of October in 1944, this Maga- 
zine said of him, in part: "He looked upon 
work in the telephone business not as a job 
but as a profession, a service of a high de- 
gree of usefulness, rendered to the public on 
a high plane and, therefore, a profession of 
great possibilities of satisfaction to those 
who worked in it." That after his retire- 
ment he should choose to continue his pains- 
taking labor on the definitive history of the 
establishment and early progress of Station 
WEAF is but another demonstration of his 
own continuing wish to render useful serv- 
ice. Those who worked with him during 
the preparation of "The WEAF Experi- 
ment" know the satisfaction he derived 

from so doing. The incident which con- 
stitutes Chapter VIII of his book is in- 
dependent of any context, and so can be 
reprinted here for its own interest. A gen- 
eral estimate of the book, and a photograph 
of Mr. Banning, will be found on page 

In these days of crippling shortages, the 
salvage operations of the Nassau Smelting 
and Refining Company, subsidiary of West- 
ern Electric and official scrap agent for the 
Bell System, give a cheering example of 
thrift and ingenuity. Nassau's president, 
William A. Scheuch, has devoted all his 
business life to metallurgy. He joined 
Western's research organization, the Engi- 
neering Department (later to become Bell 
Telephone Laboratories), in 1916. He 
transferred to the Hawthorne Works in 
Chicago in 1923; and as a member of the 
Engineer of Manufacture branch he served 
successively in positions concerned with 
metal research, secondary metals, heat treat- 
ment, casting, and by-products reclamation. 
In 1 93 1 he came to New York as works 
manager of the Nassau Smelting and Re- 
fining Company's Staten Island plant, was 
elected vice president in 1939, and was 
made its president in 1946. 

The Smallest of the Nation s Armed Forces Depends on 

Electrical Communications to Direct and Coordinate Its 

Many and Varied Duties and Responsibilities 

The Coast Guard Operates 
Through Communications 

Admiral Joseph F. Farley^ USCG 

In times of peace, the Coast Guard 
is unique in at least two respects: its 
functions and its responsibilities are 
more diversified, and in discliarging 
them it is more dependent upon elec- 
trical communications, than probably 
any other Governmental operating 
organization. Whether for adminis- 
tration of its many scattered stations, 
for the handling of routine activities, 
or for the meeting of the countless 
emergencies to which it is summoned, 
the Coast Guard depends upon its 
widespread communications networks 
for essential information about any 
given situation and for the transmis- 
sion of directions about action to be 

In carrying out its varied tasks, 
the Coast Guard makes use of the 
most appropriate or effective means 
of speedy communication. These in- 
clude principally the telephone, tele- 
graph, teletypewriter, radio tele- 
phone, and radio telegraph. 

Almost any one of the many emer- 
gency situations which the Coast 
Guard is called on to meet will serve 
to illustrate the outstandingly impor- 
tant function of the Service's net- 
works of communication facilities. 
But because it was a recent occurrence 
and attracted wide attention, let us 
consider how communication made 
possible the rescue of the i8 sur- 
vivors of the Sabena airliner, en 
route from Ireland to New York, 
which crashed in the Newfoundland 
wilds on September i8, 1946. 

The plane had been in radio com- 
munication with the Gander, New- 
foundland, airfield during the night, 
but had not come in as expected. At 
about 3 :45 on the morning of the 
1 8th (New York time) Gander noti- 
fied the commander of the Coast 
Guard base at Argentia, Newfound- 
land, by telephone, that the plane was 
overdue; and likewise so notified Ste- 


Bel! Telephone Magazine 


phenville airfield, at the other side of 
the great island. 

Argentia immediately advised the 
Rescue Coordination Center located 
in the office of the commander of the 
Eastern Area headquarters of the 
Coast Guard. This message went by 
radio telegraph to the primary radio 
station at East Moriches, on Long 
Island, and thence by local teletype- 
writer circuit into the Area headquar- 
ters at 42 Broadway in New York 

From here the report was also 
transmitted by direct teletypewriter 
to headquarters of the Army Com- 
munications System at Fort Totten, 
and to the Civil Aeronautics Admin- 
istration at La Guardia Field. The 
Army checked immediately by A.C.S. 
radio teletypewriter with the landing 
field at Stephenville and also notified 
the airfield at Goose Bay, Labrador. 
The C.A.A. got in touch with Gander 
Airport through its own radio tele- 
graph circuits. 

Note that so far there has been no 
declared emer- 
gency: merely an 
alert. Yet within 
20 minutes of the 
first message, air- 
fields across New- 
foundland and in 
Labrador had 
been put on notice 
of the obvious 
possibilities of dis- 

Rescue at Gander: A 
survivor of the air- 
plane crash in the 
Newfoundland wilds 
is removed from the 
scene in a Coast 
Guard helicopter 

tress; and three major agencies in 
this country had been notified, had 
made contact with their respective 
forces, and were keeping open the 
channels for the receipt of further 

The Search Begins 

When the missing plane's estimated 
gasoline supply was reckoned to have 
been exhausted, it was assumed that 
it had made a forced landing and 
Coast Guard search planes stood by 
at Argentia base until they could take 
off at daylight. 

Fog made the quest difficult, and 
the discovery of several older plane 
wrecks added uncertainty. By radio 
telephone the search pilots in their 
planes asked Argentia to find out the 
color of the missing plane; Argentia 
queried New York headquarters by 
the same circuits already described; 
an ordinary telephone call to the air 
line's office in the city brought the de- 
sired information; it was routed back 
to Argentia ; and from Argentia to 

1946-47 The Coast Guard Operates Through Cofnmuni cations 205 

the pilots still aloft — all in a matter 
of minutes. 

A further complication arose from 
the circulation of unfounded rumors. 
One of these, that the plane had 
crashed in the sea near Newfound- 
land, was so persistent that New 
York headquarters had to radio Ar- 
gentia to investigate. A Coast Guard 
plane was sent on an extensive flight 
in order to eliminate that possibility. 

The wreck of the missing plane 
was first sighted and the existence of 
survivors determined about 10 o'clock 
that morning by a TWA transatlantic 
plane out of New York and making 
for Gander airfield. While circling 
the scene of the crash it summoned 
by radio telephone the Coast Guard 
detachments which were searching 
nearby, and these in turn notified the 
Gander, Argentia, and Stephenville 
airfields. By 10:18 a Coast Guard 
plane reported that it had located the 
wreckage and was attempting to land 
on a pond nearby. 

This news was immediately flashed 
to the Coast Guard area headquar- 
ters in New York from the Coast 
Guard base at Argentia, to the 
C.A.A. at LaGuardia Field from 
Gander airfield, and to the Army 
from the Stephenville landing field — 
all by the communications facilities 
already described. 

The rescue teams which made their 
toilsome way to the wrecked plane 
took "handy-talkie" radio telephones 
with them, and by this means kept in 
touch with the Coast Guard and 
Army planes. These in turn passed 
the information on to the airfields al- 
ready listed, which transmitted bul- 
letins to New York over the circuits 
the several Services were keeping 

The Messages Which Brought 
Rescue to 18 

Upon reaching the scene on Sep- 
tember 20, an Army doctor with the 
first rescue team decided that many 
of the survivors would be unable to 
withstand any overland journey. 
The Coast Guard's New York Area 
headquarters immediately undertook 
to provide a helicopter — the only 
means for expeditious yet comfortable 
evacuation, since it could land in a 
small space close to the wreck and take 
off again with a patient on a stretcher. 
The request for a helicopter reached 
42 Broadway via the "handy talkie" 
— plane radio — radio telegraph — 
teletypewriter route. These three 
things then happened quickly: 

A telephone call over a Coast 
Guard circuit to the Coast Guard air 
station at Floyd Bennett Field gave 
orders to dismantle a helicopter in a 
hurry and prepare it to be flown to 

An ordinary telephone call to the 
Army provided a four-engine trans- 
port aircraft to get the dismantled 
helicopter to Newfoundland — an ar- 
rangement which emphasizes the co- 
operation practiced by these Services. 

Finally, because the Coast Guard 
believes in having two strings to its 
bow. New York area headquarters 
made a long distance telephone call 
over Bell System lines to the Coast 
Guard air station at Elizabeth City, 
N. C, where a second helicopter was 
taken apart, and was picked up and 
transported in another Army C— 54. 

Within 10 hours after the call for 
a helicopter was received in New 
York, the one from Floyd Bennet 
Field had been taken apart, packed 
in an Army plane, and flown to 


Bell Telephone Magazine 


Gander airport. There it was re- 
assembled and flown to the wrecked 
plane, and picked up the first survivor 
and carried her out to a waiting plane 
on Lake Gander which would take 
her to the Station hospital. 

The helicopter from Elizabeth 
City arrived two hours later. 

The successful removal of all i8 
survivors from the scene of the dis- 
aster by helicopter and plane is too 
well known to need retelling here; 
nor need the point be labored that 
the use of a variety of communica- 
tions facilities coordinated the activi- 
ties of several agencies, kept all in- 
formed of actions taken and progress 
made, left the Coast Guard base 
commander nearest the scene free to 
act quickly and effectively, and yet 
brought help in a hurry when it could 
be used. 

Had the doomed plane come down 
at sea, much the same basic pro- 
cedures would have been followed. 
For the Coast Guard, which for many 
years has made rescue its business, 
coordinates all activities of search and 
rescue — which is, after all, but a 
modernized version of the Coast 
Guard's care of all ships at sea and 
the men who go down to the sea in 

The Coast Guard a Union 
of Earlier Services 

The white settlers of this land 
arrived by sea, and since its earliest 
days the nation has been faced with 
maritime problems not only of ship- 
wreck and navigation but with such 
others as smuggling and with ques- 
tions of the standards of ship con- 
struction and operation. Separate 
agencies were set up to handle indi- 

vidual problems, but it was not long 
before the rapid growth of the coun- 
try created an overlapping of these 

Quite naturally then, the Coast 
Guard today is composed of three of 
these former agencies: the Revenue 
Cutter Service, the Life-Saving Serv- 
ice, and the Lighthouse Service. It 
has also taken over many functions 
of a fourth, the former Bureau of 
Marine Inspection and Navigation. 
This consolidation is quite logical, 
since all these agencies had jurisdic- 
tion over some portion of the gov- 
ernment's program for the promo- 
tion of safety at sea. 

To ENFORCE the provisions of the 
Tariff Act of 1789, the Revenue 
Marine, later called the Revenue Cut- 
ter Service, was established the fol- 
lowing year, commencing operations 
with ten wooden cutters. The first 
commission ever granted to a sea- 
going officer under the new Constitu- 
tion went to Hopley Yeaton of New 
Hampshire in 179 1 as "Master of a 
Cutter in the Service of the United 

The Life-Saving Service had its 
beginnings in the Massachusetts Hu- 
mane Society, established in 1785 to 
provide relief for persons in distress 
on the sea as well as land. The So- 
ciety built its first lifeboat station at 
Cohasset in 1807, but hundreds of 
ships were wrecked and much indi- 
vidual effort was expended ineffi- 
ciently before Congress in 1871 saw 
the necessity of coordinating the ad- 
ministration and operation of the 
various life-saving activities. In that 
year the Life-Saving Service was set 

1946-47 T^h^ Coast Guard Operates Through Communications 207 

The first lifeboat station of the original Life Saving Service — one 
of the forerunners of the Coast Guard 

up within the Revenue Marine, but 
was divorced six years later to be- 
come a separate bureau under the 
Treasury Department. 

Since maritime commerce was an 
essential part of their lives, the Colo- 
nies themselves undertook the task of 
constructing their own lighthouses, 
buoys and other navigational aids. 
The first lighthouse in the country 
was built on Great Brewster Island at 
Boston in 17 16. This and all eleven 
others erected soon after were taken 
over by the Federal Government in 
1789. After many years under the 
Treasury Department, the Lighthouse 
Service was placed under the jurisdic- 
tion of the newly created Department 
of Commerce and Labor in 1903. 

The inception of the Bureau of 
Marine Inspection and Navigation 

lay in an investigation of several 
costly marine disasters conducted by 
the Treasury Department in 1824 — 
although the first significant legisla- 
tion passed was the Steamboat Act of 
1852, which provided for the crea- 
tion of a board of nine supervising 
inspectors to administer such marine 
safety laws as were then in effect. 
This board evolved into the Steam- 
boat Inspection Service which, like 
the Lighthouse Service, went under 
the wing of the Department of Com- 
merce and Labor in 1903. 

The Coast Guard's Many Tasks 

The United States Coast Guard, 
as such, was born in 19 15 with the 
merger of the Revenue Cutter Serv- 
ice and the Life-Saving Service. In 
1939 the Lighthouse Service was 
added, and early in 1942 the Coast 


Bell Telephone Magazine 


Coast Guard to the rescue: R. A. F. fliers being removed from the Greenland ice cap 

Guard assumed a number of the 
duties of the former Bureau of Ma- 
rine Inspection and Navigation — a 
move due undoubtedly to the exigen- 
cies of war. 

Through these consolidations, the 
Coast Guard today has many varied 
tasks to perform for Uncle Sam. 

Its scope of activity ranges from 
the Bering Sea and Alaskan waters to 
Greenland and the North Atlantic. 
It includes all navigable territorial 
waters and seacoasts of the United 
States, its territories and dependen- 
cies (except the Canal Zone) to- 
gether with its lakes and inland wa- 
terways. Its shore units form a co- 
ordinated network of protective and 
marine observation stations along the 
coasts of the United States, Hawaii, 
Alaska, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin 

The normal activities of the Coast 
Guard are myriad. It enforces Fed- 

eral laws regarding smuggling, cus- 
toms, immigration, quarantine, oil 
pollution, navigation, and wildlife 
reservations, and patrols marine re- 
gattas. It eliminates navigational 
hazards, fights waterfront fires, pro- 
vides medical and surgical aid to 
American deep-sea fishing vessels, 
carries Government representatives 
and mail, and it collects statistics on 
weather and on loss of life and prop- 
erty at sea. Its functions also include 
the suppression of mutinies aboard 
merchant vessels, inspection of these 
vessels and the licensing of their ofl'i- 
cers, the examination of merchant 
seamen and issuing of certificates. 

Most of the Federal work requir- 
ing the use of Government vessels in 
the Territory of Alaska is performed 
by the Coast Guard. It renders 
medical, dental, and general welfare 
service to the natives there. It pa- 
trols the Bering Sea and parts of the 

1946-47 'I'he Coast Guard Operates Through Communications 209 

North Pacific Ocean. In our great 
river valleys, it furnishes relief to the 
flood-stricken. It conducts ice-break- 
ing operations on the Great Lakes, 
in the Hudson River, Long Island 
Sound, various New England harbors 
and in the upper reaches of the Dela- 
ware River and Chesapeake Bay. In 
the North Atlantic and Pacific it 
maintains weather observation posts 
and conducts the North Atlantic In- 
ternational Ice Patrol, keeping the 
sea lanes open and reporting drifting 

Integrated into the regulatory and 
enforcement responsibilities of the 
service are the humanitarian obliga- 
tions of the nation. Logically, the 
many jobs the Coast Guard has to do 
provide the primary reasons for the 

establishment of its facilities. In 
time of need, these can readily be 
utilized in performing its emergency 
and assistance missions. 

To ACCOMPLISH all these tasks, enor- 
mous "plant" is required. As of 30 
June 1946, the Coast Guard main- 
tained a seagoing fleet of 269 cutters 
and patrol craft of all sizes, includ- 
ing six 327-foot, one 304-foot, seven 
255-foot, three 240-foot, four 165- 
foot, and twelve 125-foot cutters; 
three ice-breakers; 14 miscellaneous 
types; 35 lightships; and 93 tenders. 
In addition, there are 166 motor life- 
boats and 1229 motorboats. 

On land there are aviation search 
and rescue facilities composed of 1 1 
air stations and 226 aircraft: the 

Convoy guardian: A Coast Guard cutter on duty in the North Atlantic against the 

menace of Nazi submarines 


Bell Telephone Magazine 


Academy at New London, Conn., for 
training officers; training stations at 
Groton, Conn., and Mayport, Fla. 
for the training of enlisted person- 
nel; about 200 lifeboat stations; a 
shipyard at Curtis Bay, Md.; 11 re- 
pair bases; 47 depots; and two gen- 
eral and five district supply depots. 
Aids to navigation include over 500 
light stations; more than 20,000 
buoys; 190 radio beacons; 49 fixed 
LORAN (long-range navigation) sta- 
tions, forming eleven chains; and 25 
radio direction finder stations. 

To knit together this vast, far- 
flung service, the Coast Guard has a 
communications network which binds 
all activities and units of the service 
into an eflicient workable peacetime 
organization; yet it is so constituted 
that in time of national emergency it 
is readily integrated with the commu- 
nications system of the Navy. 

The Communications Network 

The Lifesaving Service (a major 
component of the present Coast 
Guard) made use of the telephone in 
1878 — the very first year in which 
telephone service was offered through 
commercial exchanges. The Army 
Signal Corps had run telegraph lines 
along stretches of the Atlantic Coast 
for its Storm Signal Service, and 
these had been connected with the 
lifesaving stations in 1876; and two 
years later telephones were placed on 
the telegraph line between Cape 
Henry and Kitty Hawk, so that the 
crews and equipment of the 12 life- 
saving stations along this stretch of 
coast might be quickly summoned to 
meet a need. 

This was the first use of the tele- 
phone anywhere in the world as an 
integral feature of a lifesaving sys- 

A wartime class in radio training 

1946-47 The Coast Guard operates Through Communications 211 

tern, and it proved so effective that 
it was rapidly extended. Within the 
next decade the Signal Corps had 
interconnected 19 lifesaving stations 
on the New Jersey shore, nearly that 
many on the coast of North Carolina, 
all the stations between Cape Hen- 
lopen and Cape Charles, and several 
stations in the Great Lakes region. 
Then the newly organized Weather 
Bureau took over the telegraph fea- 
ture of the storm warning service 
from the Signal Corps, and the Life- 
saving Service absorbed the tele- 
phone lines. 

While the telephone had thus 
demonstrated its value in linking the 
lifesaving stations along isolated 
stretches of coastline, it got its real 
start, as a system, with the program 
completed in 19 18. This involved 
the expenditure of $1,200,000, which 
had been recommended by the Inter- 
departmental Board of Coastal Com- 
munications. This Board had been 
established by Executive Order in 
19 1 6 for the purpose of considering 
coastal communications with a view 
to improving and extending facilities 
for saving life and property, for the 
national defense, and for administra- 
tion in time of war. 

During this period of improve- 
ment, which involved much construc- 
tion and reconstruction, the United 
States entered World War I, and the 
Coast Guard operated under the 
Navy. The original program was 
therefore considerably enlarged to 
meet military requirements. 

It was at this time that the Coast 
Guard procured and laid hundreds of 
miles of submarine telephone cable — 
some of it to isolated island stations 
and lighthouses in the Atlantic and 
Pacific Oceans and the Great Lakes, 

which were then for the first time 
brought into quick communication 
with the mainland and the Coast 
Guard network. A cable testing and 
development laboratory near Wash- 
ington, D. C, is now an important 
factor in designing submarine cable 
to meet the Service's particular re- 

The Present Communications 

In the happy interval between two 
wars, the telephone system, as well as 
other forms of communication, was 
further extended, until by 1940 the 
Communications Section was main- 
taining and operating several thou- 
sand miles of land wire telephone 
circuits and nearly a thousand miles 
of submarine and underground tele- 
phone cable. And there is now, for 
example, a continuous wire circuit — 
land line and submarine — extending 
along the Atlantic shore from the 
eastern end of Long Island, N. Y., 
to Morehead City, N. C. — a distance 
of approximately 700 miles. 

During the war which began five 
years ago, this country's Atlantic and 
Pacific coasts were potential danger 
zones, and the Coast Guard's shore 
patrols were greatly augmented. To 
provide the ready communications so 
urgently required, hundreds of miles 
of rubber-covered telephone cable 
were purchased and were plowed In 
along the shore wherever conditions 
permitted that form of installations. 
Patrolmen carried telephones which 
they could plug into "jacks" provided 
at frequent intervals. Along much of 
the Pacific shore, the rugged terrain 
prevented that procedure, and there 
the installation of Coast Guard cir- 
cuits became major construction proj- 


Bell Telephone Magazine 


ects presenting such obstacles as 
mountain ranges, rock formations, 
and vast forests. 

While many of those war-time In- 
stallations were of a temporary or 
emergency nature, the Coast Guard 
still owns, maintains, and operates 
more than 21,000 circuit miles of 
telephone lines — including 2,737 
miles of pole line, 909 miles of sub- 
marine cable, and 218 miles of under- 
ground cable. 

Note those three words: owns, 
maintains, operates. They are used 
here advisedly. They point to a 
prime example of cooperation and co- 
ordination between the Coast Guard 
and the country's commercial tele- 
phone companies — Including, obvi- 
ously, those which comprise the Bell 

It is really quite simple. Coast 
Guard circuits must, in the nature of 

things, run to many remote and Iso- 
lated places where commercial tele- 
phone companies would have no rea- 
son to construct lines. So the Coast 
Guard builds and maintains and op- 
erates such lines — and connects each, 
at some point. Into the Bell System 
network. At some places — Islands, 
for Instance, or fishing resorts — 
where the Coast Guard's Is the only 
line available, civilians may make im- 
portant calls over it Into the com- 
mercial central office and beyond. 
Where the commercial lines do run, 
the Coast Guard uses them — and 
saves itself a lot of bother. 

And the Bell System, for its part, 
lends a helping hand or an engineer- 
ing diagram or the benefit of Its ex- 
perience where It Is needed — and pro- 
vides the Coast Guard with Bell Sys- 
tem local and long distance telephone 
service as required. For 30 years the 
two organizations have played ball 

Coast Guard installations: Foreground^ a lifeboat station; background^ operations build- 
ing, transmitter buildings, and antennas of a primary radio station 

1946-47 The Coast Guard Operates Through Communications 


A Coast Guard air station 

together, amiably and successfully, on 
the basis of a few ground rules and 
a great deal of mutual confidence and 
good will. 

It is worth recalling that for the 
Coast Guard, as well as for others, 
the telephone is a two-way path — in- 
ward as well as outward. It is the 
public's fastest way of getting help 
from an organization which special- 
izes in giving it. Every Coast Guard 
station is at the end of a telephone 
line, and no call goes unanswered. 

The telephone is a great coordi- 
nator, and direct lines run between 
each of the fourteen Coast Guard 
district headquarters and various 
other agencies: the Army, the Navy, 
the Civil Aeronautics Authority, the 
Weather Bureau, Bell System 
Coastal-and-Harbor radio stations; 
and others which might seek or give 
information or assistance. At Coast 

Guard Headquarters in Washington, 
this type of direct inter-communica- 
tion is in itself a complete network. 

No one form of communication 
could meet all the needs of so widely 
dispersed an organization, and the 
Coast Guard makes extensive use of 
the teletypewriter. Its private lines, 
which it leases from the Bell System, 
parallel the country's continental 
shores, and every district headquar- 
ters has several and every major 
coastal unit has at least one of 
the chattering teletypewriters. The 
eastern teletypewriter network ex- 
tends from Maine and Canada along 
the Atlantic to Key West and along 
the Gulf to Brownsville, Tex. On 
the west coast the circuits parallel the 
Pacific from Seattle to San Diego. 
Communication between the eastern 
and western systems is effected 
through the Bell System's TWX 
(teletypewriter exchange) service. 


Bell Telephone Magazine 


Plowing telephone wires into the beach for the use of Coast Guard beach patrols 

While the use of the teletypewriter 
in emergencies is fundamental, it 
serves other purposes as well. It 
gathers and transmits data regarding 
the locations of ships at sea; and it 
transmits weather information to 
C.A.A. stations and to Coast Guard 
radio telegraph transmitting stations 
for the guidance of mariners, for ex- 
ample; and of course it carries a good 
deal of administrative traffic as well. 

Radio telegraphy — "wireless" as 
it was called in its infant days dur- 
ing the early part of this century — 
has grown through the years of peace 
and the years of war to occupy its 
now preeminent place as the means of 
maritime communication. 

The Coast Guard, then known as 
the U. S. Revenue Cutter Service, 
pioneered in the use of radio afloat 
when in November, 1903, the U.S. 
R.C. Grant, operating in the Straits 
of Juan de Fuca and Puget Sound and 
engaged principally in the suppression 
of smuggling, successfully inaugu- 
rated the use of wireless telegraph 

for handling messages between the 
shore station at Port Angeles, Wash, 
and the Grant. Following urgent 
and repeated recommendations by the 
Secretary of the Treasury that wire- 
less telegraph equipment be installed 
on all "first class cruising cutters," 
Congress on 4 March, 1907, ap- 
proved the sum of $30,000 for in- 
stalling equipment on not to exceed 
12 vessels of the U.S.R.C.S. The 
Algonquin, in August and Septem- 
ber of 1907, was the first of a number 
of cutters to be so equipped under 
this program. From that time on, 
the Coast Guard had kept constantly 
apace with developments and im- 
provements, realizing clearly the 
value of having at its disposal the 
best in equipment and technique. 

Two years after the Algonquin 
installation occurred the incident 
which gave radio telegraphy the 
impetus for its universal adoption 
and rapid growth. Off Nantucket 
Island the steamships Republic and 
Florida collided, and from the mid- 

1946-47 Th^ Coast Guard Operates Through Communications 


night darkness of the ocean was sent 
the first C Q D — the first radio call 
of distress. Four Coast Guard cut- 
ters in Atlantic waters intercepted 
that call, and a small boat from the 
cutter Gresham rescued the last sur- 
vivors from the Republic as the ship 
went down. Radio had saved hun- 
dreds of lives, had introduced a new 
and potent factor of safety at sea. 
Today, no commercial vessel — prac- 
tically speaking — ventures beyond 
sheltered waters without adequate 
radio equipment, and an increasing 
number of pleasure craft carry either 
radio telegraph or radio telephone in- 

It is scarcely necessary to say that 
Coast Guard vessels are completely 

equipped : the larger ones with every 
type of apparatus for transmitting, 
receiving — on many frequencies — 
monitoring, taking and giving bear- 
ings; even its small boats, such as 
motor lifeboats, have radio tele- 
phone equipment. 

The other half of the Coast 
Guard's radio story is told in its 
shore installations: primary radio sta- 
tions, secondary radio stations, and 
air radio stations, for communication 
principally with ships and aircraft at 
sea; and high-frequency direction- 
finder stations, the bearings from two 
or more of which can give a vessel's 
or aircraft's navigator a "fix" or po- 
sition in a matter of seconds in case 
of actual or imminent distress.* 

Uses of Communications 

Since communications enter into 
practically every Coast Guard opera- 
tion, a complete discussion of com- 
munications would be tantamount to 
a catalog of the Service's activities. 
Instead, let us mention a few in which 
communications are of major impor- 

By an agreement of long standing 
with the American Red Cross, the 
Coast Guard stands ready at all 
times, when called on, to assume re- 
sponsibility for rescue work in inland 
areas beset by flood or hurricane. 
Routines exist for transporting men, 
lifesaving vessels, and other equip- 
ment — inchiding communications 

Building coastal telephone circuits in the 

Pacific Northwest sometimes involved ma- 

jor construction projects 

* The Coast Guard formerly furnished me- 
dium frequency radio direction finder bearings 
to the public for navigational purposes. This 
service was discontinued owing to the devel- 
oped widespread use of shipborne direction- 
finder equipment whereby the navigator takes 
his own bearings on the numerous radio bea- 
cons operated by the Coast Guard at strategic 
points along the coasts. 


Bell Telephone Magazine 


1946-47 ^^^ Coast Guard Operates Through Communications 217 

equipment — to the scene. Each dis- 
trict has at least one specially 
equipped truck which can be set up 
as a message center, receiving reports 
and Information by radio directly 
from Coast Guard airplanes, talking 
with and directing Coast Guard life- 
saving boats, making direct contact 
with the District Headquarters In 
case of need, and coordinating pro- 
tective and rescue operations. There 
is close cooperation between the 
Coast Guard and the Bell System 
telephone companies in the area af- 
fected, and the record of lives saved 
and property safeguarded by the 
Coast Guard far from salt water is 
a proud one. 

The war, and particularly the im- 
portance of aircraft, brought about 
many new developments In search and 
rescue at sea. In fact, among the du- 
ties with which the Commandant of 
the Coast Guard Is charged as head 
of the Search and Rescue Agency are 
the coordination of research In and 
development of search and rescue 
equipment through joint studies; dis- 
semination of information; and rec- 
ommendations to appropriate agen- 
cies of the War, Navy, and other 
interested Departments. These re- 
sponsibilities also Include the main- 
tenance of liaison with agencies of 
other United Nations concerned with 
these matters. 

Such Items as collapsible lifeboats, 
special food, clothing, and other 
survival equipment which may be 
dropped from planes, are now stand- 
ard equipment on all search and 
rescue and on most other Coast 
Guard aircraft. 

The Coast Guard communication 
research laboratory maintained at 

"Radio Washington," near Washing- 
ton, D. C, has been very active in 
perfecting radio signaling devices for 
attracting rescuers. These Include, 
among other projects, modification of 
the famous "Gibson Girl" emergency 
automatic transmitter so as to send 
out signals on two different frequen- 
cies, 500 kc and 8280 kc alternately, 
instead of only on 500 kc. The prac- 
ticability as well as the greatly in- 
creased radius of reliable operation 
on the higher frequency was conclu- 
sively demonstrated by extensive tests 
under typical conditions which subse- 
quently led to the adoption generally 
of the higher frequency for use by 
marine survival craft. 

The laboratory has done much 
work in Improving corner reflectors 
which are used for reflecting radar 
Impulses sent out by searching craft 
and which might not otherwise detect 
so small an object as a rubber life 
raft. At the laboratory the Coast 
Guard is working on the development 
of a lightweight airborne emergency 
radio transmitter which could be 
turned on when a plane is forced to 
ditch and would automatically trans- 
mit its call letters, dashes, and SOS on 
8280 kc to enable the high-frequency 
direction finder nets to determine the 
last position of the distressed air- 
craft. Other current projects include 
the development of an automatic 
alarm for use by aircraft which would 
place at their disposal the same means 
of summoning aid as now utilized by 

These examples Illustrate one phase 
of the laboratory's function : develop- 
ment of communications equipment, 
the need for which Is recognized, to 
the point where commercial manufac- 
turers can produce it to Coast Guard 


hell Telephone Magazine 


Coast Guard communi- 
cation installations. 
Left: Equipment at 
''Radio Washington,'' 
key station of the Coast 
Guard emergency net- 
work and in the han- 
dling of traffic for the 
North Atlantic Weather 
and Ice Patrols. Be- 
low: Teletypewriters at 
Eastern Area Head- 
quarters in New York, 
showing at left part of 
the search -and-rescue 
plotting board 

^x^s&^Sts^ -.^ii 

1946-47 The Coast Guard Operates Through Communications 


standard specifications. Equally Im- 
portant Is Its work of testing new 
equipment submitted to It for ap- 
proval and of checking up on equip- 
ment purchased to see that It Is as or- 
dered and required by the specifica- 

In addition to the work carried 
on by Radio Washington, the Coast 
Guard electronics test station at Fen- 
wick Island, Delaware, contributes 
greatly to Coast Guard electronics by 
testing LoRAN, Racon (radar bea- 
can — aircraft), and Radio Beacon 
buoy equipment. This station in 
some measure made possible the suc- 
cessful use of LoRAN equipment when 
that system was so urgently required 
by the armed forces during the war. 
The continuing need for Improved 
electronic aids to navigation for com- 
mercial and military use Indicates the 
Important part this activity will con- 
tinue to play In peacetime Coast 
Guard activities. 

The Coast Guard Is 
An Armed Force 

Normally, the Coast Guard oper- 
ates under the direction of the Treas- 
ury. But when war breaks out and 
the big guns start belching fire and 
smoke and steel In earnest, the Coast 
Guard Immediately goes on a war- 
time footing under the Navy Depart- 
ment. The nucleus of our earliest 
Navy, as a matter of fact, was the 
Revenue Marine, whose armed ships 
were the backbone of this nation's de- 
fense in 1798 when war with France 
appeared imminent. Since then, the 
Coast Guard has fought side by side 
with the Navy In every one of this 
country's wars. 

The war record of the Coast 
Guard has been portrayed in words 
and pictures throughout the world. 
Sufiice it to say that certain of its 
peace-time activities were curtailed 
or suspended in World War II, while 

U. S. Revenue Cutter Grant: The first vessel of the Revenue Service to be equipped with 

"wireless " in 190J 


Bell Telephone Magazine 



Others were greatly expanded to meet 
the needs of the emergency. 

Greatly augmented were the activi- 
ties of port security, beach patrols, 
offshore patrols, ice-breaking, weather 
stations, search and rescue, electronic 
communications, navigation aids, un- 
derwater sound, and marine inspec- 
tion. All seagoing cutters were as- 
signed to convoy or anti-submarine 
duties. Coast Guard aircraft oper- 
ated under Sea Frontier Command- 

Total manpower rose from 25,000 
officers and men at the outbreak of 
the war to over 170,000 by the end 
of the war. The establishment of 
the Women's Reserve, whose SPARS 
served in numerous communications 
billets ashore, aided greatly in re- 
leasing men for duty afloat, and the 
service was further augmented by 
some 65,000 temporary reservists. 
Many of the latter were former mem- 
bers of the Auxiliary, a volunteer 
non-military organization created in 
1939 to train and instruct civilians 
using the high seas and navigable 
waters of the United States. 

At the beginning of World War 
II, operation of the Coast Guard's 
communication system required some 
80 officers and 1,000 enlisted men. 
At the peak of its wartime activities, 
operation of the system required over 

Mobile communication equipment. Coast Guard officer {in circle^ is conversiiig over 
radio tele-phone equipment of the type installed in the trucks shown below 

1946-47 ^-^^^ Coast Guard Operates Through Communications 


700 officers and 14,000 enlisted per- 

The Coast Guard's long experience 
in handling small boats, both at sea 
and in the breakers along our shores, 
was recognized as of the greatest 
value for amphibious operations in 
both the European and Pacific thea- 
ters. Today the Coast Guard is 
proud to be able to say that its per- 
sonnel operated landing-craft in ev- 
ery important amphibious assault 
made by our armed forces during 
the war. 

In addition to the administration of 
its own communications, the Coast 
Guard has communications responsi- 
bilities at interdepartmental and in- 
ternational levels. 

Its Chief Communications Officer 
represents the Treasury Department 
on the Interdepartment Radio Ad- 

visory Committee; the Radio Tech- 
nical Commission for Aeronautics 
and its Executive Committee; the Ra- 
dio Propagation Executive Council; 
and he is alternate for the Assistant 
Secretary of the Treasury on the 
Board of War Communications and 
the Telecommunication Coordinating 
Committee. The Coast Guard Is rep- 
resented on the committees of the 
Joint and Combined Communication 
Boards, and on the Provisional Inter- 
national Civil Aviation Organization. 
The Chief Communications Officer 
served as Chairman of the U. S. 
Delegation to the International Meet- 
ing for Radio Aids to Marine Navi- 
gation at London in May, 1946, and 
he was the Treasury Department 
representative on the U. S. Delega- 
tion attending the Five-Power Con- 
ference convened at Moscow In Oc- 
tober, 1946, for the purpose of 

Equipment in the cable testing laboratory at "Radio Washington ' 


Bell Telephone Magazine 


Coast Guard manned LCIs crossing the English Channel for the D-Day invasion of the 

coast of Normandy 

preparing material for the forthcom- 
ing International Telecommunication 

A Quick Look Ahead 

While the Coast Guard is read- 
justing itself as rapidly as possible to 
its post-war strength, there will be 
various developments affecting the 
scope and emphasis of its program In 
the post-war period, 

A remarkable expansion in trans- 
oceanic air traffic is predicted. De- 
spite the many improvements in air- 
craft construction and operation, this 
expansion is certain to be accom- 
panied by an increased need for the 
search-and-rescue activities organized 
by the Coast Guard. This will re- 
quire not only more sea and air rescue 
craft but Improved equipment for lo- 
cating and communicating with ves- 
sels and aircraft in distress. Of no 

little value will be further extension 
of the Coast Guard's research and 
experimental activities relating to the 

The remarkable advances made in 
radio and electronic devices during 
the war will have a profound effect 
upon the Coast Guard's communica- 
tions and alds-to-navigation facilities 
and services. New research and ex- 
perimental programs will be required. 

Improvements of its emergency 
radio direction finder facilities and 
the re-activation of stations currently 
Inoperative owing to the lack of per- 
sonnel are among the problems which 
currently confront this Service. 

The continued expansion of LORAN 
Is being effected for application to 
peacetime ocean navigation by air and 
surface craft. 

Improvements of facilities at its 
coastal radio stations and afloat, in 
keeping with the extended sea fron- 

1946-47 The Coast Guard Operates Through Communications 113 

tiers of post-war 
operational r e - 
quirements, are 
receiving their 
share of atten- 
tion. Special 
study has been 
made to deter- 
mine the post- 
war use to be 
made of radar 
by the Coast 
Guard, and effort 
has been made to 
help the Mer- 
chant Marine In 
obtaining the use 
of RADAR. The 
outcome of this 
study has re- 
sulted In the 
of voluntary 
minimum specifi- 
cations for use, 
if so desired, by 



























1 ^ 








maritime Inter- 
ests. These spec- 
ifications have 
been favorably 
received by both 
operators and 
By keeping 
abreast of devel- 
opments In the 
field of electron- 
ics, as well as 
b y maintaining 
Its traditional 
high standards 
throughout I t s 
wide-flung organ- 
ization, the Coast 
Guard Is living up 
to the slogan of 
constant prepar- 
edness which its 

Symbols and legends from a Coast Guard banners so proud- 

communications chart of coastal waters , ^g^^.. sEMPER 

indicate how large a part coynmunications ^ ^ '^ 

■play in the activities of the Service 


Index to Volume XXV Available 

An index to Volume XXV (1946) of the Bell 
Telephone Magazine may be obtained upon re- 
quest to the Information Department of the Ameri- 
can Telephone and Telegraph Company, 195 Broad- 
way, New York 7, N. Y. 

A Salute to the Spirit of Service 

Walter S. GifFord 

Editors' note: The following is the text of the statement made 
by President Gifford of the A. T. & T. Company during the 
"Telephone Hour" radio broadcast on December i6, 1946. 

A LITTLE OVER a year ago, on the Tele- 
phone Hour, I congratulated the men and 
women of the Bell System on the superb job 
they did in meeting the nation's communi- 
cation needs during the war. There were 
450,OCX) of them then and there are more 
than 625,000 of them now. Tonight I am 
sure you would all join me, if you were as 
familiar as I am with their extraordinary 
accomplishments in the face of great diffi- 
culties, in extending sincere appreciation to 
them for the record-breaking job they have 
done since V'^-J Day. 

It is sixteen months since Japan sur- 
rendered. They have been months full of 
challenge to those of us in the Bell System. 
After nearly four years of concentrating on 
war, V-J Day found us seriously short of 
trained personnel and of equipment and fa- 
cilities to meet the backed-up civilian de- 
mand for telephone service. There is per- 
haps less glory but certainly there is real 
satisfaction in peacetime accomplishments, 
and the accomplishments of the last sixteen 
months have been the most striking in the 
history of the System. In spite of shortages 
of critical materials and other difficulties be- 
yond their control, the Bell telephone com- 
panies have installed more than twice as 
many telephones as they ever did before. 
They have added the record number of 
3,800,000 telephones: almost equal to the 
total number of telephones in Great Brit- 
ain, for example, which country ranks next 
to the United States in number of tele- 

phones. They have added more than seven 
hundred and fifty million dollars' worth of 
telephone equipment and facilities, and they 
have employed every ingenious device that 
could be thought of to provide the maxi- 
mum amount of best possible quality of tel- 
ephone service. Their slogan has been to 
find out how the impossible can be done 
and then do it. This is our American way 
in peacetime as well as wartime — it is the 
spirit that inspired the founders of our 
country and has made our country great. 

With demands for telephone service 
greater than they have ever been, and with 
long distance calls more than three times 
what they were before the war, the service 
has been surprisingly good. But in spite of 
record achievements and in spite of doing 
our level best, we are greatly concerned 
that there are still over two million people 
waiting for telephone service and many who 
are not getting the kind of service they 

The men and women of the Bell System 
can well take pride in what they have ac- 
complished — but there is much yet to be 
done. With the spirit of service that is a 
tradition in the Bell System, I look forward 
to 1947 with high hopes that we shall make 
real progress in giving everyone the tele- 
phone service he wants when and as he 
wants it, and that we shall make real prog- 
ress toward making the speed and quality of 
that service better than it ever was. 

Radio Telephony Extends Service not only Overseas hut 
Also to Vessels Afloat and Vehicles Ashore^ and Overland 

to Meet Special Needs 

The Growing Use of Radio 
in the Bell System 

Francis M. Ryan 

A TELEPHONE BELL rings In an au- 
tomobile. The driver pulls over to 
the curb, takes the telephone handset 
from its mounting under the dash, 
and answers, "This is WJ6— 6632." 
The call may bring important infor- 
mation, save miles of driving and 
hours of time, many dollars of ex- 

Such calls are being made every 
day in many parts of the country. 

Telephone service to motor ve- 
hicles is the latest addition to the 
many uses of radio in the Bell Sys- 
tem. These include telephone serv- 
ice to ships at sea, to harbor vessels, 
and to airplanes, as well as overseas 
service connecting telephones in this 
country with those in the principal 
nations of the world. 

Radio also is employed for certain 
domestic telephone circuits bridging 
water gaps or traversing difficult ter- 
rain. A recent installation of this 

type is a 28-mile radio circuit across 
the desert extending wire facilities to 
serve Death Valley in California. A 
similar circuit is being established to 
serve Timberline Lodge on the slopes 
of Mount Hood in Oregon. 

The frequencies employed for 
these many Bell System radio serv- 
ices range from thousands of cycles 
per second, corresponding to wave 
lengths measured in miles, to billions 
of cycles per second, with wave 
lengths of fractions of an inch. By 
contrast, the dial on a standard fre- 
quency radio broadcast receiver ex- 
tends from 550 kilocycles to 1600 
kilocycles — a range of a little more 
than 1,000 kilocycles. The diagram 
on page 227 shows in compressed 
fashion (logarithmic scale) the range 
of frequencies employed in Bell Sys- 
tem services compared with the 
standard broadcast frequency band. 
Without this compression, but em- 


Bell Telephone Magazine 


The antennas of the 
Death Valley terminal of 
the new radio telephone 
circuit loom over barren 

ploying instead the scale used here 
to represent the broadcasting range, 
it would take a piece of paper 300 
feet long to cover the frequency 
range within which Bell System serv- 
ices operate. 

The characteristics of radio waves 
vary greatly with frequency. Some 
are suitable for one type of service, 
others for entirely different services. 
Generally speaking, waves of the 
lower frequencies hug the earth, 
while those of extremely high fre- 
quencies (micro waves) have char- 
acteristics similar to light waves. 
These micro waves are capable of 
spanning only moderate distances, as 
they travel in straight lines and re- 
quire for their use line-of-sight con- 
ditions between transmitting and re- 

ceiving stations with- 
out intervening ob- 
structions. Over land 
they may be employed 
for longer distances by 
the use of relay or re- 
peater stations along 
the route to be cov- 
.-<*** For transoceanic 

■sJamnBEi. transmission, very low 

\ frequencies may be 

employed. But since 
sufficient numbers of 
such frequencies are 
not available to care 
for current needs, in- 
between frequencies 
are used which reach 
the other side of the ocean by bounc- 
ing down from conducting layers in 
the upper atmosphere which engi- 
neers call the "ionosphere." 

Much of the story of research in 
the field of radio is of the exploration 
of waves of higher and higher fre- 
quencies, corresponding to shorter 
and shorter wave lengths. This con- 
tinuing exploration has been neces- 
sary not only to provide frequency 
channels of suitable characteristics 
for the varied uses of radio, but also 
to provide an adequate number of 

Each step upward in frequency has 
required the development of new 
techniques for the generation and 
radiation of the waves and for their 
reception and utilization. As these 

1946-47 T'h^ Growing Use of Radio in the Bell System 227 

techniques have been developed and 
waves in new frequency ranges have 
been put to experimental use by re- 
search engineers, their characteristics 
and field of utility have been deter- 
mined. Development engineers, fol- 
lowing close on the heels of the 
research engineers, have translated 
these new techniques into apparatus 
and equipment for new kinds of tele- 
phone services. 

Early Experiments 

The possibilities of radio in the 
field of telephony were strikingly 
demonstrated when in 19 15 Bell Sys- 
tem engineers transmitted the human 
voice for the first time across the 
ocean to Paris. In these experi- 
ments, frequencies of about 60,000 
cycles per second, corresponding to a 
wave length of about three miles, 
were employed. To radiate waves 
of these great lengths effectively re- 
quires immense antenna structures, 
and the giant antenna of the Navy 
wireless telegraph station at Arling- 
ton, Virginia, towering 600 feet high, 
was borrowed for these experiments. 
In the steady progression toward 
higher and higher frequencies, anten- 
nas have become smaller and smaller. 
For example, in a micro-wave system 
recently placed in service in the Bell 
System, the active antenna element is 
only 2^ inches long. 

Commercial Service 

The first regular day-in-and-day- 
out use of radio to provide telephone 

A logarithmic representation of the radio 
frequency spectrum, showing to the right 
of the central column the location thereiii 
of various Bell System radio services. 
For reference, the standard broadcast band 
is also shown 





3.000,000 g 


1. 000.000 ^ 






I.OOO §u 















(CATAUNA ISL. 1920' 




Bell Telephone Magazine 




T'A^ r«<i/o telephone station on Santa Catalina Island, established in IQ20, was the first 
used to provide day-in-and-day-out telephone service 

service began in July 1920, and was 
for the purpose of connecting the 
telephones on Santa Catalina Island, 
thirty miles off the California coast, 
with the general telephone network 
of the Bell System. The transmit- 
ting and receiving equipments were 
located in separate buildings. This 
radio-telephone circuit, which was in 
operation for more than three years, 
employed frequencies of about 700,- 
000 cycles per second — 700 kilocycles 
— corresponding to a wave length of 
about 1400 feet. This range of fre- 
quencies is now used for broadcast- 

These initial radio facilities were 
ultimately replaced by submarine 
cables. However, when additional 
telephone circuits were needed to 
Catalina Island in 1946, radio facili- 
ties were again Installed, this time to 
supplement tlie cable facilities. 

The radio facilities installed in 
1946 are very different in character 
from those installed in 1920. The 
new system, which provides for eight 
simultaneous conversations, employs 
frequencies of about 4800 megacycles 

or nearly 5 billion cycles per second. 
This is a frequency 7000 times higher 
and corresponds to a wave length 
1/7000 that of the original 1920 in- 
stallation. This illustrates the vast 
strides that are being made in the 
opening of new frequency ranges and 
in developing the equipment, the tech- 
niques, and the "know how" neces- 
sary for their full utilization in tele- 
phone service. 

Overseas Telephone Service 

A VAST AMOUNT of research and de- 
velopment work was required before 
the technique of the intermittent one- 
way transoceanic radio-telephone ex- 
periments of 191 5 was improved 
upon sufficiently to permit giving a 
reasonably reliable transatlantic tele- 
phone service. By 1927 this point 
was reached, and service was opened 
to London 20 years ago last January. 
For this service, frequencies in the 
same range (60 kilocycles) as the 
original overseas experiments were 

Shortly after this, the technique of 
employing higher frequencies (4,000 

1946-47 T^^^ Growhig Use of Radio in the Bell System I2g 

to 20,000 kilocycles) and shorter 
waves was developed. With these 
shorter waves, smaller antennas hav- 
ing directional properties became 
practical. The increased efficiency 
available through the use of these di- 
rectional antennas, and the fact that 
these shorter waves were transmit- 
ted with relatively little attenuation, 
permitted the use of transmitters of 
more moderate power. 

This technique made possible a 
wide extension of radio facilities for 
overseas telephone communication. 
Full advantage has been taken of it, 
and such facilities are now used by 
the Long Lines Department of the 
American Telephone and Telegraph 
Company to connect the telephone 
system of this country with those of 
the other principal nations of the 
world — except Canada, Mexico, and 
Cuba, which are reached by wire con- 

With the increased facilities avail- 
able, improved techniques, and reduc- 
tions in rates, the use of overseas 
radio-telephone circuits has grown to 
large proportions. At present this 
traffic is at an annual rate of approxi- 
mately 500,000 messages, 

S/iip Telephone Service 

The development of ship tele- 
phone service has paralleled that of 
overseas service. For high-seas ships 
the service follows the pattern of the 
short-wave overseas service, and cm- 
ploys frequencies in the same general 
range. The shore station equipment 
for this service to ocean liners is lo- 
cated in the same buildings as that 
for overseas service. 

To supplement this service, facili- 
ties have been provided for serving 
coastal and harbor vessels. They 
employ frequencies of about 2,000 
kilocycles. The Bell System operates 

This powerful modern tug is typical of the commercial vessels using coastal-harbor 

telephone service 


Bell Telephone Magazine 



J-KyK^A S^^ ^ £^0_ 




<-~A Lij taiaa fcMd KQg 

I94J 1946 

1946-47 The Growing Use of Radio i}i the Bell System 


This recently completed micro-wave radio station on Cape Cod provides telephone circuits 

to Nantucket Island 

land stations of the coastal-harbor 
type in 17 locations on the Atlantic 
seaboard, the Gulf, the Pacific coast, 
and the Great Lakes; and additional 
stations are operated by connecting 
companies on the Great Lakes and 
the Mississippi River. The location 
of these land radio stations employed 
for ship telephone service is rep- 
resented on page 230. This service 
is used by tugs, tankers, yachts, 
launches, pilot boats, ferries, freight- 
ers, and ocean liners: in short, every 
conceivable type of marine vessel. 
And the service of these stations has 
recently been extended to aircraft on 
a conditional basis. 

Like overseas service, ship tele- 
phone service has continued to grow. 
The present traffic through Bell Sys- 
tem stations is at an annual rate of 
more than 200,000 messages. The 
number of ship telephone messages 
handled year by year through these 
stations since 1930 is indicated on 
page 230 also. 

Domestic Poinf-to-Point Services 

For communication with ships, 
radio is the only practical means. 

For telephone communication be- 
tween fixed points on the earth's sur- 
face the situation is very different. 
For such cases the engineer may have 
the choice of using wire or radio fa- 
cilities. The wire facilities may be 
one of many types: open wire or ca- 
ble, voice frequency or carrier.* If 
the path crosses water, submarine ca- 
ble facilities are required where wire 
circuits are to be used. Many fac- 
tors affect the choice between radio 
and wire, including the quality of 
service attainable with presently de- 
veloped techniques, the comparative 
costs and, in the case of radio, the 
availability of frequencies. 

While the wire-circuit designer 
may feel, at least temporarily, the 
shortage of materials such as copper 
and lead, the radio engineer has 
seemed destined, in the design of 
some types of facilities, to a per- 
petual shortage of frequencies. For 
example, in the case of overseas serv- 
ice it is only by continually improving 
the techniques employed, with re- 
sultant economies in frequency use, 

* See "The Messages Go Through in Many 
Ways," H. I. Romnes, Magazine, Autumn 1945. 


Bell Telephone Magazine 


that the addi- 
tional circuits nec- 
essary for growth 
are being pro- 
vided. That is be- 
cause this service, 
which depends 
largely on waves 
bounced down 
from the upper 
atmosphere, nec- 
essarily operates 
in the frequency 
band between 

4,000 and 20,000 kilocycles, which is 
very crowded with telegraph and 
telephone and international broad- 
casting services. 

In the domestic field, the situation 
is quite different in that advantage 
can be taken of the greater numbers 
of channels in the higher frequency 
ranges which have been opened up by 
the development of new techniques. 
At the higher frequencies — as al- 
ready mentioned — the characteristics 
of the waves approach those of light, 
and "line-of-sight" paths must be 
provided for their use. While this 
makes them unsuitable for overseas 
circuits for intercontinental routes, 
they may nevertheless be practically 
employed for domestic circuits, and 
numerous short radio circuits employ- 
ing such frequencies are in regular 
use in the Bell System for bridging 
water barriers. 

The earliest one of these circuits, 
which bridges Cape Cod Bay, oper- 
ates at a frequency of about 60 
megacycles. The circuits to Catalina 
Island already referred to, and simi- 
lar circuits from Cape Cod to Nan- 
tucket Island, are the most recently 
established radio facilities for do- 

At the left is a micro- 
wave relay station in- 
tailed temporarily to 
transmit television 
images of football 

games at West Point 
via Crow's 
New York. 

Nest to 
The dia- 

gram below illustrates 

mestic point-to-point service, and op- 
erate on frequencies of nearly 5,000 
megacycles. The system used in these 
recent installations employs a pulse 
type of transmission not unlike that 
used in radar systems, the intelligence 
being conveyed by a unique modula- 
tion system which varies the time po- 
sition of the pulses. With this sys- 
tem, eight conversations are handled 
by transmitting, in effect, a sample of 
each, one after another in sequence, 
this process being repeated over and 

Micro-wave Systems 

The development of means of cm- 
ploying frequencies in the micro-wave 

1946-47 ^^^ Growing Use of Radio in the Bell System 


range (frequencies above 1,000 mega- 
cycles, wave length below about one 
foot) has not only greatly increased 
the number of channels available but 
also made possible the use of the 
same channel simultaneously at sta- 
tions separated by comparatively 
moderate distances. This becomes 
possible because of the limited range 
of transmission of such frequencies 
and the "searchlight" directive beams 
which it is possible to use when em- 
ploying them. This greater direc- 
tivity also enables the use of lower 
powers, with resultant economy. 

Developments in this micro-wave 
range are widening the field, of use 
of radio for domestic point-to-point 
communications. The Bell System 
has been actively engaged in develop- 
ing the use of such frequencies since 
long before the recent war. In ad- 
dition to the 8-channel micro-wave 
system for bridging water barriers to 
telephone service, another system op- 
erating in the 4,000-megacycle range 

A micro-wave radio relay 
station of the New York- 
Boston experiment 

is being experimentally 
tried out in the Bell 
System, with consider- 
able success so far, for 
transmission of televi- 
sion programs from 
point to point. An ex- 
ample of the use of this 
system is the recent ex- 
perimental transmission 
of television images of 
the football games at 
West Point to New 
York, where they were 
broadcast by the Na- 
tional Broadcasting Company. A 
single relay station, located on a 
mountain known as Crow's Nest, 

A)i emergency radio telephonic station. A 
pair of these compact statioiis can bridge 
a tefuporary gap in physical circuits to 
handle two-way conversations 


Bell Telephone Magazine 


Above: Installed on the roof of a truck cab is the equipment 
used in providing mobile radio telephone service 

near West Point, en- 
abled llne-of-sight paths 
with good clearance to 
be employed over this 
45-mile route. 

Relay Systems 

Telephone engi- 
neers have long envi- 
sioned the employment 
of micro-wave radio re- 
lay systems for the 
transmission of bundles 
of telephone channels 
or television channels 
across the land in much 
the fashion that coaxial 
cables are now being 
employed. The attrac- 
tion of such a system, 
with all facilities con- 
Below: A truck driver about to answer a telephone call centrated at the ter- 
which is reaching him through Bell System mobile radio p^ji^al and repeater 

points and no intercon- 
necting cable or wires 
to install or maintain, 
is very great. Such a 
system, to be a candi- 
date for general use, 
however, must meet 
very exacting transmis- 
sion requirements, must 
be highly reliable, and 
must compare favor- 
ably in cost with wire 

To assure full devel- 
opment of the potenti- 
alities of the radio re- 
lay type of system, a 
full-scale experimental 
installation operating in 
the 4,000-megacycle fre- 
quency range is being 
made between New 
York and Boston. 

telephone facilities 

1946-47 T'h^ Growing Use of Radio in the Bell System 


Seven relay stations will be located 
along the route. This system will 
be employed experimentally for tele- 
vision program and multiplex tele- 
phone transmission during 1947. 
Preliminary tests of model equip- 
ments by the Bell Telephone Labora- 
tories, transmitting back and forth 
between New York and Murray Hill, 
N. J., have been successful and plans 
to install similar systems between 
New York and Chicago are now 
being made. Experience with these 
systems will aid in determining the 
future scope of radio relay systems 
in the long distance telephone plant 
of the Bell System. 

Emergency Service 

Radio, operating through space with- 
out intervening conductors, appears 
especially suited to emergency com- 

munication in times of storm or dis- 
aster. It has, in fact, found consid- 
erable application of this sort. A 
hundred 50-watt portable two-way 
radio-telephone equipments are in the 
hands of Bell System operating com- 
panies, and have been used effectively 
to restore communication when areas 
have been isolated by unusual storms. 
These equipments operate at com- 
paratively low frequencies (about 
2,000 kilocycles) as it is not usually 
possible in emergencies to operate 
from locations which would provide 
the line-of-sight paths necessary for 
the use of very high frequencies. 
The power for these emergency out- 
fits is obtained from portable gas- 
engine-driven generators. 

Some use has also been made by 
the Associated Companies of radio 
for emergency communication with 


o ..,. 






V O 

o o 


-^r •£ 

• o o 




--, o 

• • 



In service or Under Construction 

tion Filed or Being Prepared 

O F C C. Applrcolic 

Spotted 071 this map are the locations whej-e facilities for mobile radio telephone service 

are being established 


Bell Telephone Magazine 


motor vehicles. The New York 
Telephone Company has operated 
such a system In New York City for 
six years which has been used by the 
Consolidated Edison Company. The 
New England Telephone and Tele- 
graph Company has had a similar 
system in operation In Boston for 
some time which has been used by the 
traction company. These systems 
operate in the 30— 40-megacycle fre- 
quency range. 

General Mobile Telephone Service 

Until recently, the rules of the 
Federal Communications Commission 
did not make any provision for gen- 
eral public telephone communication 
with motor vehicles. Except for 
police and fire-department communi- 
cations, such service was limited to 
utilities, welfare organizations, and 
similar organizations, and the nature 
of the message was limited to that 
essential to the preservation of life 
and property. 

Recently, as an outcome of its ex- 
tensive hearings on frequency alloca- 
tion, the Commission has allocated a 
few frequencies to general mobile 
telephone service on an experimental 
basis. Provision Is made for two 
types of service, urban and highway. 
The urban service, which operates 
in the 152-162-megacycle range, is 
employed for service in the larger 
cities. The highway service, which 
operates in the 30-44-megacycle 
range, is primarily for serving ve- 
hicles on intercity routes; but it is 
also to be used to serve local vehicles 
in the smaller communities along 
these routes where separate urban 
facilities are not warranted. 

The Bell System companies have 
been quick to make use of the newly 

available frequency allocations to 
provide telephone service to motor 
vehicles on an experimental basis. 
Facilities for urban mobile communi- 
cation have already been scheduled 
for installation in 46 cities, in 26 of 
which the facilities for the first chan- 
nel have already been completed. 
The first city to have such service was 
St. Louis, where the initial channel 
was placed in service in June 1946. 
Additional channels are now sched- 
uled for installation In several cities 
and plans for urban facilities are un- 
der consideration In numerous others. 

Urban mobile service Is finding 
ready acceptance by the public and 
Is already being employed by many 
different types of users. These in- 
clude power companies, trucking com- 
panies, gas companies, burglar alarm 
companies, taxicab operators, motor 
service organizations, physicians, 
manufacturers, contractors, ambu- 
lance operators, armored car opera- 
tors, police organizations, newspa- 
pers, railroads, and broadcasting 
companies. Several hundred vehicles 
are already using the service regu- 
larly, and the number grows daily. 
The service is offered to water-borne 
craft as well as motor vehicles, and 
several have already been equipped. 

The facilities for urban mobile 
service in a city include a 250-watt 
radio transmitting station with Its 
antenna located on a high building 
or other elevation, providing trans- 
mission throughout the area to be 
served — which usually reaches out 15 
to 25 miles from the station — and 
several radio receivers located at fa- 
vorable points in the area. The 
radio receivers and the radio trans- 
mitter are connected to the telephone 
switchboard by wire telephone cir- 

1946-47 The Growing Use of Radio in the Bell System 237 

cuits and a special terminal equip- 
ment enabling the mobile service op- 
erator to handle the circuit in very 
much the same fashion as other 
telephone circuits are handled. 

Facilities for highway service are 
also being established rapidly in many 
parts of the country. One route, be- 
tween Chicago and St. Louis, is now 
in operation. Among other routes 
being equipped for this service are 

providing isolated subscribers with 
telephone service.* Employing modi- 
fications of the equipment which is 
used for mobile service, eight ranches 
in the vicinity of Cheyenne Wells, 
Colorado, are now being experimen- 
tally served by radio. Four of these 
ranches, ranging in distance from 1 1 
to 21 miles from Cheyenne Wells, 
are reached directly by radio links; 
the other four are reached from one 

Boston-New York-Washington, Cin- of these ranches by short wire line 
cinnati-Cleveland, New York-Albany- 
Buffalo, San Diego-Los Angeles, and 
several extensive routes in the south- 

On these routes the spacings of the 
radio transmitting stations will vary 
from about 25 miles to more than 
100 miles, depending on the terrain. 

extensions. The operator at Chey- 
enne Wells makes connections with 
the radio subscribers in much the 
same manner as with other subscrib- 
ers. Both local and long distance 
service is provided to them. This 
experimental installation of radio fa- 
cilities for rural telephone service is 

Many of the transmitters will be of giving experience which will be of 

value in designing radio equipment 
especially suited to this type of use. 

250-watt power output, others of 
only 50 watts. Associated with each 
transmitting station will be several 
receivers, as in the case of urban fa- 
cilities. Highway mobile radio-tele- 
phone circuits will terminate on the 
long distance switchboard in cities or 
towns along the route and in the vi- 
cinity of the transmitting stations. 

The map on page 235 shows the 
locations throughout the country 
where mobile telephone service is 
being made available. 

Rural Service 

Experiments are in progress to ex- 
plore the practicability of radio for 

Radio has already done much to in- 
crease the scope of the telephone 
service of the Bell System. What 
further uses it may be put to cannot 
be predicted. However, continuing 
research and development assure that 
the full potentialities of the radio 
method of transmission will be avail- 
able to the Associated Companies. 
Their active participation in the use 
of radio in turn assures the full de- 
velopment of these potentialities. 

* See the article beginning on page 193. 

Out of the Ashes of a Disastrous Conflagration Arose in 
Eleven Days a New Central Office Which Restored Service 

To lOyOOO Silent telephones 

Crisis in River Grove 

Hugh Moffett 

Chicago Correspondent^ Life Magazine 

Not long after a half-million-dollar 
fire destroyed the River Grove, 111., 
telephone building, word reached the 
Chicago office of hkfe Magazine that 
an heroic task of quick restoration of 
service was being undertaken. A 
fire, even of that size, seldom is ma- 
terial for a national magazine. But 
before this fire had cooled, we 
learned, an army of Illinois Bell Tele- 
phone Company people, with help 
from other branches of the Bell Sys- 
tem, had pitched in to give temporary 
emergency service to a population of 
some 50,000 "isolated" by the dead- 
ening of nearly 10,000 telephones. 
People in the River Grove area, 
moreover, and some of their neigh- 
bors in Chicago's west side who had 
been served from that building, had 
been promised complete service again 
in two weeks. 

So h'lfe photographer Wallace 
Kirkland and I went out to get a pic- 
ture story. 

I remember his first observation 

after we made a quick survey of the 
enterprise. We had seen a cool, de- 
termined group of traffic workers, 
crowded in a small business office; a 
crew of messengers hurrying about 
town delivering emergency phone 
calls; gangs of workers ditching, 
splicing cables, erecting semi-perma- 
nent Quonset huts back of the burned- 
out building; and doing a dozen other 
jobs simultaneously. 

"Isn't it a pleasure," Kirkland 
commented, "suddenly to come across 
a force of people with their minds on 
only one thing — trying to get a job 
done in a hurry?" 

We agreed it was a stimulating 
sight, and set about picking up a 
record of what had happened and 
what was happening. 

First we took a look at the ruins — 
a two-story brick building with the 
roof fallen in on the valuable, hard- 
to-get telephone equipment. Charred 
chairs showed where the operators 
had sat — 35 of them during daily 

Crisis in River Grove 


Firemen inspect the 

wreckage of the Rive?' 

Grove operating room 

peaks — handling 45,- 
000 calls a day. A 
few burned plugs and 
wires dangled from 
the blackened boards. 

It was there, on 
the morning of De- 
cember 14, about 3 
A.M., that operator 
LaVonne Daczewltz 
had smelled smoke. 
Mel Holstrom, cen- 
tral office mainte- 
nance man, found the basement full 
of smoke. The fire department ar- 
rived quickly, later was joined by 
Elmwood Park, Franklin Park, May- 
wood, and Chicago departments. But 
it was no use — the five operators on 
duty had to be ordered from the 
building. The clock hands showed 
it had been stopped at 3 :20. 

It had been less than an hour after 
LaVonne smelled smoke, we learned, 
that calls organizing reconstruction 
went out from nearby suburbs. 

The night before, Friday, had been 
a "night out" for many employees of 
the Illinois Bell In Chicago. They 
had stayed late at a Pioneer dinner 
or a plant union meeting, thinking to 
sleep late on Saturday. But they 
shook off pleasant sleep and rose up 
to meet the emergency. By 5 130 
A.M. additional lights came on in 
Loop offices as engineers went Into 
action. Telephone company cars and 
trucks began to roll in the darkness 
toward River Grove. 

The challenge of the crisis spread 
quickly to the Western Electric Com- 
pany's nearby Hawthorne Works, Its 
Kearny (N. J.) Works, and its Chi- 
cago distributing house; and to the 
far-away offices of the American 
Telephone and Telegraph Company 
and of Bell Telephone Laboratories. 
They too had to supply help and ma- 
terial for River Grove. Later we 
observed the results of these wide- 
spread efforts; but from the ruins we 
followed the story to what had been 
the site of the first reawakening of 
phones in the suburb a few hours 
after the fire — a small telephone com- 
pany business office two blocks away 
on Grand Ave. 

In this office, designed for perhaps 
half a dozen persons, we found at 
least 75. They were plying plugs, 
pencils, screwdrivers, and numerous 
other tools and pieces of equipment, 
some of which I still cannot identify. 
In newspaper days I had seen many a 


Beil Telephone Magazine 


crisis in the news room. The activity 
in that little business office approxi- 
mated what would be my conception 
of the news coverage of election 
night, a kidnaping, a murder, and a 
flood, all rolled into one occasion. 
Girls worked at switchboard posi- 
tions while installers were still con- 
necting wires. Executives maintained 
direction while overcoated messen- 
gers scurried In and out. To one who 
can never understand why a telephone 
works anyway. It looked like multiple 
confusion. But we could see that It 
was getting results. 

Establishing Emergency Service 

CoMPAN'iY OFFICIALS found time to 
explain that a 50-pair cable led into 
this office. While the fire embers 

cooled, a two-position PBX had been 
located in a nearby warehouse and 
moved in. By about 9 :^o A.M. the 
River Grove police and fire phones 
had been connected by magneto serv- 
ice. Before noon the first trunk lines 
were working of[ the PBX. 

While these were being hooked up, 
Illinois Bell station wagons stood out- 
side and mobile radio telephone units 
were working in them. For several 
hours they provided the only com- 
munications links between the on-the- 
ground and headquarters groups in 
downtown Chicago, and therefore 
were Invaluable. Even after the first 
PBX lines were in, the units con- 
tinued to handle part of the traffic In 
and out of River Grove until late in 
the afternoon of the first day. 

Eight positions of PBX switchboard turn the telephone business office^ a block from the 
destroyed central office, into a temporary operating room 


Crisis in River Grove 


Later, more cable and six rrfore 
PBX units were added in the busi- 
ness office until finally a total of 286 
lines were available for emergency 
service. Of these, more than 30 
lines were for emergency outdoor 
public telephones. The booths were 
strategically located on street cor- 
ners, near filling stations and other 
public places throughout the affected 
area for customers' convenience and 

This could take care of much of 
the essential business of the com- 
munity, but home telephones re- 
mained silent. For them the com- 
pany set up the messenger service 
manned by traffic and commercial 
people. The crises of day-to-day liv- 
ing continued to occur — deaths, births, 
accidents, empty fuel bins. A snow- 
storm with near-zero temperature 
contributed Its bit to the emergency, 
and, incidentally, added greatly to the 
burden of the outside workers on day 
and night shifts. 

As SOON as the first wires were open, 
all incoming calls of an emergency 
nature were noted and ticketed. The 
messengers then drove to the ad- 
dresses given to pass along the in- 
formation. If a return call were 
needed, the messenger transported 
the customer to the business office or 
to one of the outdoor "fresh air" 
telephone booths. 

Messenger Steve LaVan knocked 
on the door of Mrs. Arthur Rochelle 
to tell her of a request that her 
daughter call about the death of a 
friend. Messenger Robert French 
took word to Mrs. Hoyer that the 
baby of her sister, Mrs. Murphy, 
who lives out In the country without 
a car, was 111 and must be taken to a 

hospital. La Van drove to the West- 
lawn cemetery to inform Manager 
Carl Harris that a grave must be dug. 

The stork, which was flying long 
before there were telephone poles for 
it to rest on, refused to recognize the 
disruption in River Grove. Mes- 
sengers moved with the greatest of 
dispatch when an Incoming call said 
"Baby expected In short time," sum- 
moning doctor or ambulance or pro- 
viding a ride. There was speculation 
among the messengers as to whether 
any might yet serve as midwife. 
None did. 

Edward Skicewlez, Milwaukee 
Railroad switchman, sighed wearily 
as he answered a messenger's knock. 
He had worked long hours and now, 
with a dead phone, was hoping to 
hole up for a good rest. But the call 
boy and the emergency service tracked 
him down. 

During the first few days after the 
fire, the suburban residents drove or 
walked to stores. The routine er- 
rands which normally slip quietly 
along the phone wires came alive out 
in the streets. This drama of visible 
communication reminded us of the 
old rural party lines, where neighbors 
could keep well abreast of community 
comings and goings. In River Grove, 
when Mrs. Bernadine Sendler bun- 
dled up her five-year-old and walked 
four blocks Into the wind and over 
the ice, it could be easily learned that 
she had run out of bottled gas for 

We suspected there might be some 
old timers about who were chuckling 
at youth's new-found appreciation for 
the telephone, which, like the kitchen 
sink and refrigerator, has come to be 
taken for granted like the sun and the 


Bell Telephone Magazine 


These equipment engineers at Western Electric'' s Kearny Works discuss their blueprints 
of equipment used in the burned-out central office, in order to develop quickly specifica- 
tions for equipment to replace it. Four of these men later went to River Grove to put 

their special knowledge to work on the spot 

rain. It was evident that the sub- 
scribers, with rare exceptions, were 
taking the temporary loss of service 
with great good humor and under- 
standing. Among the exceptions was 
the matron who insisted that a tele- 
phone messenger direct a veterinarian 
to give her a telephone bulletin on 
the health of her ailing Pekinese, at 
that time housed in a pet hospital. It 
is not recorded just how the dog felt 
that day. 

Organizing the Attack 

After our visits to the business of- 
fice, where Kirkland contributed to 
the turmoil with light cords and flash 
bulbs, and some trips with the mes- 
sengers, we spent part of a day at the 
site back of the burned building where 
the semi-permanent Quonset hut 
quarters were going up. The use of 
the land had been arranged before 
the firemen had left the scene. 

In the office of an adjoining lumber 
yard the proprietor, S. H. Elizer, 
had a story to tell about the land. 
Feeding his little office stove with 
shavings and board ends against the 
stinging cold, he told customers how 
he had driven in from Memphis on 
the night following the fire. He was 
startled to see floodlights playing on 
his vacant lot, showing busy work- 
men in the early stages of erecting 
huts. When he learned that the tele- 
phone company had had a fire, and 
had been granted use of the land by 
his yard foreman, Walter Bell, Elizer 
shrugged: "That's fair enough." 

In and about the Quonset huts the 
System-wide enterprise and dispatch 
were becoming apparent, along with 
the tireless efforts of contractors 
and sub-contractors. The contractors 
eventually numbered 25. Telephone 
company workers numbered about 


Crisis in River Grove 


While workmen built one end of a for us as "multiple." Railway ex- 
hut, telephone equipment was un- press cars, trucks, and five cargo 
loaded in the other, finished end of it. planes hauled from the east the 
Company officials informed us that equipment which we saw converging 
originally a rough sketch had been there in the huts. And Western Elec- 
drawn up, calling for a 20' x 60' trie's Chicago distributing house kept 
terminal room and a 20' x 160' oper- a steady stream of supplies flowing 
ating room. An Aurora, 111., con- to the scene. 

tractor could provide the huts. The r^i • , r, 

1 . , J u- 1 Flanntno' the Keconstruction 

general contractor made his plans <^ 

from the rough sketch. From long- The over-all plan of reconstruc- 

hand specifications, engineers phoned tion, we learned, included shifting of 

orders for equipment, completely cir- 2,600 phones on Lackawanna lines, 

cumventing the usual typewritten or- which had been in the River Grove 

der and blueprint routine. building, to the Merrimac office in 

The Western Electric Company Chicago. These phones served Chi- 

provided cable from its Hawthorne 
Works at nearby Cicero. From its 
Kearny, N. J., plant came more 

cago customers. But this shift re- 
quired a mile of ditching, executed by 
a mechanical ditch digger through 

cable, plus forty switchboard posi- day, night, cold, and snow. When 
tions, plus cable racks and switch- the ditching crew twice hit under- 
board equipment which was identified ground obstructions, the cable was 

. au.rr^_^ 

Above: A cargo plane 
is loaded with equip- 
ment for River Grove 
from Western Elec- 
tric' s Kearny Works. 
Right: More equip- 
ment is rushed aboard 
a truck at Western's 
Chicago distributing 

g^MlSK^ """SSS 


Bell Telephone Magazine 


Equipment is going into these Quonset huts^ behind the destroyed buildings while the 
contractor' s men complete the work of erecting them 

laid along the surface and spliced in. 
Replacement of cable in conduit came 
later. It was a costly process, but the 
quickest way. In all, more than 15 
miles of cable were necessary for the 
transfer of Lackawanna telephones 
to the Merrimac office. 

We found a tremendous splicing 
operation going on in a manhole 
under a tent outside the old building. 
To permit more hands to splice in the 
small quarters, an excavation along- 
side the manhole had been made and 
shored up. Down we went to get a 
picture of Marty Quinn. He was 
working on one of half a dozen 
cables. It contained, he said, about 
1400 pairs and 27 quads. Marty 
had to explain what quads were, and 
pretty soon he was talking about 
"phantoms." The discussion ended 
shortly after I told him I wanted 
Kirkland to get a picture of a "phan- 

In the telephone business, as in 
most, there appear to be some de- 
scriptive terms for workmen. I was 
disappointed when Marty said he 
should be identified only as a cable 

splicer. It would seem that one who 
can tie 1,400 pairs and 27 quads, and 
come out even, without a phantom 
left over, deserves a more romantic 

As THE WORK progressed, we were 
told of construction feats and im- 
provisations. The No. 12 switch- 
boards, it seems, are not tailor-made 
for offices as large as River Grove. 
But this type was available, and cer- 
tainly there was no time to manu- 
facture another kind. So numerous 
modifications were called for. To 
avoid congestion in the crowded huts, 
much forming and soldering was done 
in a nearby garage and an out-of- 
service dance hall and in Western's 
Chicago distributing house. When 
soldering on the main distributing 
frame became a bottleneck, the sol- 
dering was postponed and the wires 
were twisted into place. Frame and 
switchboard multiple arrangements 
were modified to make room for 
extra installers and plant men. 

As the days passed, the daily total 
of stations in service moved to three- 


Crisis in River Grove 


and then four-digit figures. Com- 
pany officials who had predicted com- 
plete service In two weeks developed 
a fond hope as Christmas approached. 
The 12-hour and longer stretches by 
some employees began to pile up ac- 
complishment. Many voluntarily can- 
celed Christmas Eve plans at home. 

On Christmas morning the night 
shift went out for a hurried break- 
fast, then rejoined the day shift. 
And so it was that at 1 1 130 a.m. on 
Christmas day the Illinois Bell Tele- 
phone Company could present to 
River Grove central-office subscribers 
an announcement of complete restora- 
tion of service — not two weeks but 
eleven days after the fire. 

As the Life story was put together 
in New York a few days later, we 
could report the restoration. Those 
responsible for the reconstruction had 

found time to catch their breath and 
total up some of their efforts. There 
had been a half-million-dollar loss in 
the fire. Some $890,000 had been 
spent on the restoration of service, 
not counting the comparatively minor 
loss of business during the 1 1 days. 
Seven million feet of wire had been 
installed. There were a million hand- 
soldered connections — roughly, that 
is, in case anyone wants to count them 
and argue. 

By the first of the year, Illinois 
Bell people could assure River Grove 
that a new, modern telephone build- 
ing was on its way. Finished, it will 
be an attractive, reinforced concrete 
structure with brick and stone walls. 
By Christmas of this year, customers 
will be dialing through the new office. 
They have learned to expect no less, 
after having seen the Bell System 
team "going to town" in those eleven 
days before Christmas, 1946. 

One of the "fresh air' telephone booths 

Editors' Comment 

Mr. Moffett tells the story from 
the point of view of the outside ob- 
server. That is what we asked him 
to do : to write it as he saw it. 

But there is another story too, 
which in this Magazine may appro- 
priately supplement his. 

It is the story of the organization 
zuithin the System — the integration of 
different units — which made it pos- 
sible to undertake to perform in two 
weeks a task which would normally 
require nearly a year — and then whit- 
tle down the two weeks to 1 1 days. 

Involved were, primarily, the Illi- 
nois Bell Telephone Company and 
the Western Electric Company; and, 
to a somewhat lesser degree, the A. 


Bell Telephone Magazine 


T. & T. Company and the Bell Tele- 
phone Laboratories. That is a good 
Bell System team — and a shorter 
word for integration is teamwork. 

On that bleak Saturday morning 
in River Grove there were many ques- 
tions waiting for answers — the right 
answers. The tougher the problem, 
the more important was it that the 
answer be the sound one. 

The experience and judgment 
within A. T. & T.'s O. & E. Depart- 
ment, and the technical knowledge of 
the specialists at Bell Laboratories, 
helped Illinois Bell executives and en- 
gineers to determine the how and the 
why of some of the policy decisions. 
The what and the when answers of 
Western Electric, with its Chicago 
distributing house, two of its three 
Works, its Installation division, and 
its headquarters organization all con- 
centrating on the emergency, tied in 
with the where which the telephone 
company answered on the spot. And 
all meshed together like matched 

Inside one Ouonset hut^ 
installers are working on 
the first of three rows 
of switchboard positions 
which are being installed 
as fast as carpenters can 
lay the flooring 

Once more, as in 
many another crisis, 
Western Electric — the 
supply unit of the Bell 
System — demonstrated 
magnificently its abil- 
ity to provide with 
breath-taking speed 
the equipment needed 
to restore service. 

It may have been 
a fine stroke of luck 
that 40 sections of manual switch- 
board — previously earmarked for 
another Bell company's expansion 
program — were on the floor of the 
Merchandising division at Western's 
Kearny plant. But luck had nothing 
at all to do with Kearny's long-estab- 
lished file of detailed blueprints of 
every manual central office in the Bell 
System, from which those for the de- 
stroyed River Grove exchange were 
readily extracted. This made it pos- 
sible to determine at once how best 
to install those 40 sections — at least 
for the present — and what other and 
how much equipment had to be re- 

Not luck but organization and ex- 
perience made it possible for some 
250 of Western's central oflRce in- 
stallers to move from assignments in 
other places to connect those 40 new 
switchboard sections into the wire 
network — as well as an 11 -position 
manual switchboard in Chicago's 
Merrimac exchange. So was it with 
Kearny's rush shipments of distribut- 

1946-47 Crisis in River Grove 247 

ing frames, power equipment, and which is the first consequence of dis- 

20,000,000 conductor feet of special aster to a city's telephones, 

cable produced in 36 non-stop hours. Those are, in brief, some of the 

And so it was also with the hundreds activities which took place behind the 

of types of miscellaneous and indis- scenes. They, and all else which oc- 

pensable items of equipment supplied curred during the restoration there, 

instantly as needed by the Hawthorne demonstrate strikingly the advantages 

Works and the Chicago distributing of the Bell System's form of organi- 

house. zation. For while its manufactur- 

As these supplies flowed into River ing, supply, and operating units are 

Grove, the Illinois Bell Company — accustomed to working together to 

which of course bore the primary re- make possible the Nation's telephone 

sponsibility — was bringing in 500 of service, the benefits of that complete 

its own men and women from assign- integration show most spectacularly 

ments nearby, contracting for tem- during emergencies such as that which 

porary site and shelters and for un- beset River Grove during those cold 

skilled jobs, and swiftly bringing and strenuous days toward the end 

orderly progress out of that chaos of 1946. 

Somewhere in the Bell System there was dirty work at the 
crossroads — or so said a number of citizens in letters to the 
Federal Communications Commission during the war. They 
had heard transmissions of a definitely subversive nature em- 
anating from our overseas stations on the New Jersey coast. 
Not only that, but the subject of these sinister messages seemed 
to be that supreme top secret — the Atom. 

Alert interceptors had been able, for example, to pick up the 
follovring sentences : 

"Magnetism is the quality which we attribute to the atom. 
We affirm that iron, nickel, gadolinium, gaseous oxygen, and, 
in fact, all substances are magnetic because they have magnetism 
in their atoms." 

The source of this red-hot dispatch proved to be the overseas 
control room of the Long Lines building in New York. How- 
ever, the gentlemen in this 24th floor hide-out were not en- 
gaged in nuclear fission. Their hands were unsullied by 

The quotation above was merely a standard-speech recording, 
known for years to overseas technicians as the Juicy Atom 
Speech. It was used for trying out the overseas channels, and 
was no more than what the first line of the record described it: 
"This is a test transmission of the American Telephone and 
Telegraph Company." 

From Long Lines, the magazine of 
A. T. & T. Long Lines Department 

West-to-Rast Transmission Tests Demonstrated in 1923 
The Practicability of Overseas Radio Telephony as a 

Commercial Undertaking 


^^ Hello, England": A One- 
Way Transatlantic Talk 

IVilliam P. Banning 

Editors' note: The following pages, constituting Chapter VIII 
of Mr. Banning's recently published book, "Commercial Broad- 
casting Pioneer: The WEAF Experiment, 1 922-1 926," are re- 
printed here as having special interest in connection with the 
20th anniversary of commercial overseas radio telephony, which 
occurred on January 7, 1947- See also page 267. 

Since Bell System chronology 
records another "radio debut" in the 
headquarters building a few weeks 
before the dedication of the new 
WEAF studios, this resume of broad- 
casting activities will be interrupted 
in order to include a brief and per- 
sonal reference to it. The event was 
historic because it demonstrated the 
success of telephone engineers in de- 
veloping a radio technique for extend- 
ing telephone service overseas. 

When these engineers first trans- 
mitted speech across the Atlantic in 
1 9 15, several hundred 15-watt tubes 
were necessary in the experiment in 
order to obtain sufficient power for 
transmission. Important research 
was begun after the war to develop 

tubes of substantial transmitting 
power, and a copper-anode water- 
cooled tube evolved which pointed the 
way to a solution of the problem of 
overseas telephony. This develop- 
ment work continued, and in 1922 a 
powerful water-cooled amplifier was 
installed in space leased at the R.C.A. 
transatlantic radio telegraph trans- 
mitting station at Rocky Point, Long 
Island, where an antenna was avail- 
able. Telephone engineers went to 
England where, through the coopera- 
tion of British Post Ofiice engineers, 
they were able to study and measure 
every variation in the transmission 
tests originating on Long Island. 
Since there was no suitable transmit- 
ting equipment on the other side of 

'Helloy England'' : A One-Way Transatlantic Talk 


the Atlantic, these tests could be of 
only west-to-east transmission.' 

January 14, 1923, was the day 
selected for a demonstration of the 
technique which had resulted from 
the long and detailed experimenta- 
tion, and nine o'clock in the evening 
was the time set, since transmission 
was best in the hours of darkness. 
The only arrangements were that 
President Thayer and Vice-president 
Gifford, and Vice-president Carty, 
who had technical supervision of the 
demonstration, would speak, and that 
a distinguished gathering of scientists 

1 The group of engineers in charge of the 
Rocky Point installation was headed by Mr. A. 
A. Oswald. Those who carried on the trans- 
mission tests in England were Dr. H. W. Nichols 
and Mr. H. T. Friis. Later in the year Dr. 
Nichols was awarded the Fahie Premium by 
the Institution of Electrical Engineers in Lon- 
don for a lecture before the Institution on 
Transatlantic Wireless Telephony. 

and others would be waiting, at two 
o'clock in the morning, at New South- 
gate, near London, to hear the voices 
from America. 

The technical importance of the 
demonstration has, of course, been 
reported in many places. Other de- 
tails, of the human-interest variety, 
are set down in the personal notes of 
the present writer, who was delegated 
to inform the press of the event and 
who was on hand during the day to 
observe the preparation. These notes 
refer, for example, to the D&R en- 
gineers who equalized and provided 
amplifiers for the wire lines connect- 
ing the headquarters building with 
the Rocky Point apparatus. They 
picture the afternoon scene in Presi- 
dent Thayer's office where engineers 
sat before a special transmitter, read- 
ing aloud newspaper items or long 

Transmitting equipment Jor transatlantic radio telephony n, installed at Rocky Point in 
192J by telephone engineers. The picture shows the water-cooled tubes referred to in 

the second paragraph of the narrative 


Bell Telephone Magazine 


President Harry B. Thayer 
of the American Telephone 
and Telegraph Company 
speaking in a one-way 
radio telephone test to Eng- 
land^ January 14, 1923 

lists of words, while 
cablegrams arrived at 
intervals from London 
reporting "6o7o intelli- 
gible," then "70% in- 
telligible"— then "8o7« 
intelligible" — the per- 
centage climbing higher 
as daylight faded. 

In the notebook also 
is the record of a con- 
versation in the office of 
Vice-president Carty, who had re- 
marked about six o'clock, after giving 
some final instructions, "Now I'll get 
a little nap." "What!" said this as- 
tonished publicity manager, "Aren't 
you nervous? Can you really sleep?" 
"There's nothing to worry about," 
was the answer. "The tests are what 
I expected. There was sleet on the 
wires just before we opened the first 
transcontinental line, but I slept, on 
that very sofa, for 30 minutes. You 
see, I knew that line was being 
watched — by telephone men." 

And besides such random jottings, 
the notebook also records historic 
messages, together with an incident 
which, though inconsequential, still 
stands out in the writer's memory. 
Before nine o'clock arrived there 
were many reassuring messages 
"100% intelligible," and promptly 
on the hour Mr. Thayer laid aside his 
cigar and began to read the words 
addressed to an audience 3,000 miles 
away on another continent. 

g^^^^i||i jj '" ^^ 

Eleven minutes later came the ca- 
bled message : 

"Thayer got through to all." Signed, 

As the tests proceeded, other cable- 
grams arrived in thrilling sequence: 

To General Carty at 9 :i4 p.m. Purves ^ 
recognized Carty. Signed, Gill 

To General Carty at 9:21 p.m. Audi- 
ence wants some local color. Going fine. 
Press wants pause between speakers and 
clear announcements of names. Gill 

To General Carty at 9:26 p.m. A few 
listeners have trouble with the American 
language. General impression fine as far as 
we can judge during intermission. Signed, 

To General Carty at 9:35 p.m. I have 
listened with great interest and pleasure to 
the far-flung voices of Mr. Thayer and Mr. 
Carty. Of Mr. Thayer's message, I recog- 

2 Mr. Frank Gill, Chief European Engineer 
of the International Western Electric Company 
and also President of the British Institution of 
Electrical Engineers, who was in charge of tech- 
nical arrangements in England. 

3 Engineer-in-Chief of the General Post Of- 
fice of Great Britain. 

1946-47 ''Hello J England'': A One-Way Transatlantic Talk 


nized every word. I missed a little of Mr. 
Carty's but recognized absolutely his well- 
known intonations. Send best respects and 
warmest good wishes to our friends in 
the A. T. & T. and W. E. Co. Signed, 


To General Carty at 9:36 p.m. For 
Mr. Thayer. I heard every word you 
said and recognized your voice perfectly. 
Signed, Wilkins * 

To General Carty at 10:01 p.m. Repre- 
sentatives of British press congratulate A. 
T. & T. Co. and Radio Corp.^ on their 
epoch-making experiment, the success of 
which has exceeded their expectations, and 
in which they see the dawning of a new era 
in long distance speaking which will be of 
the greatest value to the press of the world. 
Press Representatives 

To President Thayer at 10:10 p.m. I 
have just listened to your radio telephonic 
message which I have heard very distinctly. 
I congratulate you and all those connected 
with the research which has led to this 
achievement. G. Marconi 

To General Carty at 10:45 p.m. To 
your engineers the most sincere fraternal 
greetings from their British confreres. 
Signed, Gill 

To General Carty at 10:58 p.m. On 
conclusion of these most successful and his- 
toric tests which have made a profound im- 
pression, all those assembled at the London 
end wish to congratulate most heartily the 
A. T. and T. Co. Signed, Gill 

To President Thayer at 10:58 p.m. 
Heartiest congratulations on what has been 
achieved and on the complete success of its 
demonstration. Your voice was just like a 
personal talk. Would not have missed it 
for world. Signed, Kingsbury * 

* Mr. F. H. Wilkins, Vice-president and Euro- 
pean General Manager, International Western 
Electric Company. 

s The American Company had announced the 
experiment as "cooperative" because of contrac- 
tual relations with RCA and because of the use 
of certain large RCA antennas on Long Island. 

® J. E. Kingsbury, author of The Telephone 
and Telephone Exchanges (London, 1915) and 
a director of Western Electric, Ltd. of London. 

To General Carty at 10:58 p.m. Loud 
speaker now being used. Good results. 
Great enthusiasm. Signed, Gill 

To General Carty at 1 1 :oo p.m. Your 
interview on loud speaker came through 
fine. Signed, Gill 

To General Carty at 11 :oi p.m. There 
is only one word — magnificent. Gill 

With communications history thus 
being made every moment, the press 
representatives were invited to come 
downtown for the news. Yet when 
they arrived, there was little to give 
them but a technical explanation of 
the test and copies of the congratula- 
tory messages as they arrived. 

This chronicler sensed that the 
newspaper men did not fully realize 
the import of the occasion and re- 
ported with disappointment to Vice- 
president Gififord that they seemed 
unimpressed. "I know what's the 
matter," said Mr. Gifford, "they 
want evidence! General Carty has 
that door closed to keep out noise, 
but I'm going to open it so these men 
can see what's going on!" And, 
beckoning to the skeptical reporters, 
he opened the door to the President's 
office, disclosing a smiling man with 
a sheaf of telegrams in his hand, 
speaking into a strange-looking trans- 
mitter. "That's Mr. Thayer, gentle- 
men," said Mr. Gifford, quietly, 
"and he's talking to England!" 

And so, among the memories of an 
eventful evening, is that unplanned, 
informal scene — a prideful president 
saying for his colleagues, "Thanks 
for your message," and a group of 
newspaper men clustered at his door, 
listening Intently, and almost unbe- 
lievingly, to words that were flashing 
across the sea, heralds of a service to 
reach all parts of the globe. 


Leroy A. Wilson 

Editors' note: The following excerpts are from an address by 
Vice President Wilson of the A, T. & T. Company at a spe- 
cial convocation of honorary societies at Denison University. 

Opportunity must be taken hold of, 
cultivated and made to bear fruit. The 
responsibility is yours to accept this chal- 
lenge and to meet it effectively. 

By effectively, I mean for the benefit 
of society. There have been over the 
ages, many examples of men banding to- 
gether for the common good. Too 
often, however, there have also been 
leaders who have used their ability and 
their following for selfish ends with in- 
sufficient regard for the rights and wel- 
fare of others. We all know well that 
that is not the kind of leadership which 
the Christian concept asks us to assume. 
Neither is it the kind which will enable 
us to maintain our national heritage of 

In the years ahead, the roads we shall 
follow will be the roads that we build, 
and they will lead where we want them 
to take us. Where do we want to go? 
In the direction of a free, vigorous and 
healthy national life — with plenty of 
room for enterprise and for individual 
development of character and judgment 
limited only by a proper regard for the 
rights of others and a solid respect for 
the virtues of competitors? Or do we 
want to move toward a narrower life in 
which freedom of action is sacrificed, in 
which individual character and judg- 
ment is subordinated for uncertain as- 
surance of physical security for clothing, 
food and shelter, but little else; in which 
man becomes the servant of a system 

rather than the master of his own af- 


None of us, of course, is unaware that 
there are discords within this land of 
ours today. Much of it is expressed in 
intemperate, even belligerent language. 
And we have our prophets of doom. In 
my judgment, however, we have too 
solid a basis for faith in our heritage 
and in our way of life to allow our- 
selves to be dismayed by any problem 
that confronts us. 

Just consider our economic position 
alone, in contrast with that of most of 
the rest of the world. In our system of 
free private enterprise, we find the great- 
est hope for the greatest well being of 
the greatest number of people. Ameri- 
can industry and labor have performed 
as no others have yet been able to do. 
The American worker commands the 
highest pay and has the highest standard 
of living in the world. He is free to 
live, to move around, to worship, to ex- 
press himself, and to earn a living in a 
vocation of his own choice. Equally im- 
portant is his opportunity to rise from 
the ranks to the top of his vocation. 
Most of our leaders in industry, in sci- 
ence, in the professions and in public 
life — in fact, in all phases of the con- 
structive work that has made this na- 
tion great — have come up through the 
ranks. Their lives bear testimony to 
the opportunity which is presented to 



every American boy and girl. There is 
no ceiling on your opportunity ; there is 
only the limitation which your own 
ability places upon it. 

All these things mean that we have 
something that exists in the United 
States of America to a degree that has 
never been reached before anywhere. 
We have attained it under our Ameri- 
can system of democratic government 
and free enterprise which in turn has 
sprung from the initiative, the spirit of 
fair play and the common sense of all 
the people. That being so, it behooves 
us all to preserve the vitality of that 
system — to contribute toward it for the 
greater good of all — and to face the fu- 
ture with confidence. 

This country, its people and enter- 
prises, this University, have come to 
their splendid position out of the rugged 
endeavors of pioneers — early pioneers 
and modern ones still pioneering. Free 
men and women in a free land seized 
their opportunities and brought miracles 
to pass, spurred on b^^ the belief that all 
men are created equal and entitled to life, 
liberty and the pursuit of happiness. 
They were determined to achieve those 
things — for themselves, their families 
and their feHow countrymen — and they 
have done so. That determination 
should never be surrendered. 

Success is often attributed to such 
qualities as knowledge, judgment, en- 
Pi'gy) patience, imagination, and so on. 
These are all excellent qualities, but I 
doubt that by themselves they give the 
real answer. For years this question of 
what constitutes success has intrigued 
me personally, and I have tried to arrive 
at my own definition. To me, success 
depends on two simple things — first, the 
ability of the individual to analyze a sit- 
uation and decide what should be done, 
and second, his or her capacity and cour- 
age to get it done. To say it even more 
simply, if you can learn to know what 
you are fitted to do, and then do it well, 
then surely your life will be a success. 

Under this way of thinking, your suc- 
cess will not be measured by any par- 
ticular achievement, or by your place in 
the social scale, or by the rank attached 
to your job. Rather, it will be measured 
by your own inner feeling when you ask 
yourself, "Have I made full and able 
use of head, heart and hand in the think- 
ing, the understanding of others and the 
action that could reasonably have been 
expected of me?" 

Opportunity, in capital letters, beck- 
ons you in a greater degree than ever 
before to exercise the kind of leadership 
that will help this nation along its for- 
tunate and happy way. 

Memo To a Girl at a Switchboard 

Harold W. Stephens 

Where were you when Christmas 
came, Aliss Susie-at-the-Switchhoard? 

Where were yon when the hells 
rang in the New Year? 

Where, throngh the holidays in be- 

I asked xonr friends zvho sazv yon. 

One sazv yon on the streets, part of 
the merry Christmas and Nezv Year 

One, paying a round of holiday 
calls, your arms laden with gifts. 

Another saw you at church. 

Still another sazv you out zvith a 
fellow with broad shoulders, zvho 
reached for your hand as the tzvo of 
you walked along. 

What they sazv zvas as it should be, 

That's wliat's done a I Christ )n as 
and New Year's today, and you're 
of today, every vivid inch of you. 

You're alert and modern, in step 
zvith this nezv year of iQ-fJ . 

But, tell me, did your friends see 

A doctor told me they didn't. 

He made a call on Christmas Day. 

It was an important call, for a life 
hung in the balance. 

A stranger said they didn't. 

He was hundreds of miles from 
home, and lonely with the holiday 
happiness about him, but through the 
telephone he paid a visit home. 

And even as the bells lolled in the 

New Year, someone zvho needed help 
reached for the telephone. 

Someone handled those calls, Susie, 
and thousands more like them. 

Shall I ask you zvho? 

You're strictly 1947, Miss Susie. 

A bright path and ready laughter 
are your heritage and your right. 

But you are also wise beyond your 
years, for you knozv that these things 
are not all. 

Did you know, Miss Susie-at-the- 
Switchboard, that a picture of you 
was painted, back years ago before 
you were born? 

That's true — and more than any 
other picture ever painted, it has cap- 
tured the significance of telephone 
communication for all time and all 

It is called "Weavers of Speech." 

A line of telephone poles emerges 
from a shadozvy mist. 

The wires sweep dozvn to the left 
Jiand of the central figure — that's 
you, Aliss Susie. ^ — and rise again to 
her right, as she feeds the lines of 
communication to people everywhere. 

Age-old folk tales tell of Fate as a 
weaver, spinning the threads of des- 
tiny and weaving them into the pat- 
tern mankind must follozv. 

In the darkness, from zvhicli the 
teleplione lines come to your hand, 

Mefuo To a Girl at a Switchboard 


\\ EAVERs OF Speech 
"... a picture of you was painted, back years ago before you were born" 

unseen are all man's efforts to create 
an ideal of communication, on zvhich 
Jie might build his future. 

There are the smoke of his first 
signal fires, the naked runners trained 
to run for miles, the messengers on 
horseback, all of these and many 

Progress rests on communication, 
and mans search for an ideal has 
been endless. 

Into your hands come the tele- 
phone lines. 

They are the fruit of his efforts 
and the threads of his destiny, which 
your hand weaves into the pattern of 
a better world. 

It is as though you held a lantern 
high, and in its rays new life is form- 
ing, new growth springing up. 

JFhere there was darkness, now 
there is light. 

It is a great picture of you. Miss 

It tells a great story — one so big 
mere words cannot make its import 

That took paint on canvas. 

It is a timeless story, too, one even 
more true today than when the pic- 
ture was painted. 

That's zvhat makes it a great pic- 

And you're a great gal, Susie. 

Today is a bridge over zvhich all 
our yesterdays cross to make tomor- 

You're crossing it zvith your chin 
up, eager, and alert and ready for 
laughter, but you're azvare that these 
things are not all. 

You carry your share of the load. 

And that's zvhat makes you great! 

Mr. Stephens is on the staff of the 
Southern Telephone Neti's of the 
Southern Bell Telephone and Tele- 
graph Company, and his "Memo" is 
reprinted from that publication. 

A Subsidiary of the fVestern Electric Company Salvages 

and Reclaims Millions of Pounds of Metals and Materials 

Important to the Telephone Business and the Nation 

Nassau— The Bell System's 
Conservation Specialist 

IVilliam A. Scheuch 


Prodigal use of the nation's raw 
materials during four years of war 
has focused serious attention on de- 
clining national reserves of lead, cop- 
per, iron, zinc and many other re- 
sources vital to Industry. Although 
our country has been drawing exten- 
sively from its natural resources for 
less than lOO years, there are signs 
of ultimate depletion within the fore- 
seeable future. Now, as never be- 
fore. Industry In the United States Is 
looking to its scrap heaps and junk 
piles for substance to help feed the 
machines of peacetime production. 

Though the conservation and rec- 
lamation of used materials has been a 
habit of long standing In the Bell Sys- 
tem, the careful husbanding of the 
by-products from manufacture and 
the recovery of basic raw materials 
from equipment retired from service 
throughout the System are assuming 
added importance. 

To the Western Electric Com- 
pany's subsidiary, Nassau Smelting 
and Refining Company, falls the ma- 
jor responsibility for collecting, sort- 
ing, and reclaiming the millions of 
pounds of scrap materials resulting 
from Bell System operations each 
year. Literally, there is gold in those 
piles of scrap — gold, silver, iridium, 
and other precious metals. But more 
important than precious metals to the 
telephone industry are the huge quan- 
tities of lead, copper, zinc, iron, steel, 
and aluminum. Because they resist 
corrosion, lead and copper are par- 
ticularly Important In the manufac- 
ture of telephone equipment to assure 
flawless performance over long 
periods of time. And many other 
products, like rubber, paper, plastics, 
burlap, and rope are obtained from 
salvaging everything from tiny switch- 
board lamps to worn-out trench dig- 

Nassau — The Bell System's Conservation Specialist 


An aerial view of the Nassau Smelting ^ Refining Company at Tottenville, Staten Island, 
N. Y. In the background is the Kill van Kull, above which the Outerbridge Crossing 

stretches to New Jersey 

In 1945, a comparatively low year, 
^the Nassau organization handled 
105,122,000 pounds of "Bell Sys- 
tem" scrap. Included in this amount 
was enough lead to cover 1,600 miles 
of 1)4 "-diameter cable, enough cop- 
per to produce 72,000 miles of open 
line wire, enough iron to build seven 
modern destroyers of the Bristol 
class, enough paper to print four 
and a half editions of the New 
York Times. There were 1,475,000 
pounds of aluminum, 942,000 pounds 

terial no longer needed in its exist- 
ing form. Improved methods of 
manufacture, design of new equip- 
ment, and changes in tools and ma- 
chinery all add to the scrap piles. In 
this sense, accumulation of scrap is 
a sign of progress. 

A Nation-wide Organisation 

Today Nassau Smelting and Refining 
Company is a far-reaching network 
covering all Western Electric plants 
and distributing houses and closely 

of plastics, and 883,000 pounds of linked with the Bell System's operat- 

nickel and nickel-base alloys. 

All told, the value of scrap for the 
year totalled $3,835,000. Contrib- 
uting to this tidy sum were such di- 
vergent materials as cinders from 
Western Electric power plants, sold 
for thirty cents a cubic yard, and 
iridium from contact points in tele- 
phone sets and switchboards, sold at 
$125 an ounce. 

In simplest terms, scrap is any ma- 

ing telephone companies. It's a highly 
coordinated team of experts includ- 
ing chemical engineers, metallurgists, 
sorters, furnace men, investigators, 
salesmen, market analysts and ship- 
pers to the number of 400. That so 
small a group can handle the disposal 
of so large a volume and variety of 
Bell System scrap speaks well for 
their efficient methods. Actually, al- 
most everyone in the Bell System con- 


Bell Telephone Magazine 


tributes indirectly to the scrap job — 
even the office worker who tosses a 
sheet of paper into the wastebasket. 

Nassau grew to its present stature 
from a small organization at the 
Western's Hawthorne plant in 1916, 
when for the first time a central 
group was charged specifically with 
converting the by-products of tele- 
phone manufacture into useful raw 
materials. Up to that time each 
manufacturing department had han- 
dled the scrap piles built up by the 
residue from busy screw machines, 
punch presses, and other production 

The wisdom of the decision to cen- 
tralize scrap control became increas- 
ingly apparent as the telephone busi- 
ness rapidly expanded following 
World War I and during the boom 
'twenties. The volume of scrap rec- 
lamation grew in proportion. In 
1927, the newly built Kearny, N. J., 
plant relieved Hawthorne of han- 
dling telephone scrap originating east 
of Pittsburgh. The scrap piles were 
mounting, and so was the knowl- 
edge of how to get the most out of 
them. Secondary metals, as the trade 
calls reclaimed scrap, were becoming 
an important source of raw materials 
for the telephone business. It was 
time for Western Electric to shop 
around for a "home" for scrap, 
where the "know how" of reclama- 
tion was already at work. 

Following a careful survey of 
available facilities. Western Electric 
purchased in 1931 the Nassau Smelt- 
ing and Refining Company at Totten- 
ville, Staten Island, N. Y., a long- 
established concern equipped with 
furnaces and facilities to handle re- 
fining on a large scale. The new 
Nassau company took over Kearny's 

scrap activities, and in addition began 
processing most of the non-ferrous 
scrap metals resulting from Western's 
manufacturing operations. Grad- 
ually Nassau's job grew, and in 1941 
the company became responsible for 
disposal of all Bell System scrap. 

The Nassau organization consists 
of two main parts: the smelting and 
refining plant in Tottenville, S. I.; 
and a special department called the 
Bell System By-Products Organiza- 
tion, which maintains representatives 
at each Western Electric plant and 
distributing house and serves as liai- 
son with the telephone companies. 

Almost in the shadow of the Outer- 
bridge Crossing at the lower tip of 
Staten Island, the storage bins and 
railroad sidings at Nassau are bulg- 
ing with bales of wire, reels of cable, 
boxes of assorted metal parts, all 
garnered from the four corners of 
the Bell System. These scrap prod- 
ucts are purchased by Nassau from 
Western Electric and the telephone 
companies at prices depending on the 
metal content and the market value 
of refined metal. To balance out the 
company's operations, Nassau also 
purchases scrap materials, such as 
shell casings, and machine scrap of 
numerous varieties from other indus- 
tries. During a normal year, Nassau 
buys about half of its secondary raw 
materials from the Bell System and 
half on the outside. Likewise, half 
of the metals refined by Nassau re- 
turn to the Bell System for re-use in 
the manufacture of telephone equip- 
ment, while the remaining portion is 
sold to other industries in the form 
of bronzes, zinc dust, and other prod- 
ucts which have limited use in tele- 
phone production. 

1946-47 Nassau — The Bell System s Co)iservation Specialist 


A load of scrap telepho>ie cable is weighed at a Western Electric Distributing House 
before shipment to Nassau Smelting & Refining for processing into some new form 

of raw materials 

Classifying^ Sortings Refining 

One of the secrets In reclaiming for 
the Bell System Is careful sorting and 
classification. Scrap gets a prelimi- 
nary "going over" at the various 
Western Electric factories and dis- 
tributing houses. In some cases, 
scrap material accumulated at tele- 
phone companies Is shipped directly 
to Nassau under the supervision of 
the local Nassau representative. At 
Western's Works locations, Nassau 
representatives assist in setting up ef- 
ficient methods and routines to guar- 

The same procedure applies to re- 
tired telephone equipment dismantled 
at the various distributing houses. 
From long experience and analysis 
of manufacturing operations, Nassau 
men can estimate the quality and 
quantity of scrap expected from that 
source. Most telephone plant scrap 
consists of recurring Items, too, like 
switchboard apparatus, cable, hand- 
sets, relays, and the like. 

Nassau men divide anticipated ac- 
cumulations Into classes, based on a 
physical and chemical analysis of each 

antee a mmimum 
are always on the alert to devise new 
methods of saving scrap at the source. 
They assist In setting up routines for 
keeping each class of waste material 
In separate containers — the brass in 
one barrel, copper in another, nickel 
silver In another. 

of waste. They class. First there is a general group 

consisting of about 14 different Items 
— aluminum, brass, bronze, copper, 
iron, steel, and so on. Each of these 
14 Is broken down Into sub-classes 
covering specific alloys or kinds of 
material. There are eleven different 
kinds of aluminum, for example, 17 


Bell Telephone Magazine 


An operator in the reclamation department of one of Western Electric s Works loads 

scrap metal into a baling machine. The Nassau company supervises the reclamation 

and disposal of all scrap material throughout the Bell System 

of brass and 49 of copper scrap. In 
all there are about 200 different 
classifications covering the millions of 
pounds of non-ferrous scrap each 
year. This careful segregation In- 
creases the volume and purity of re- 
claimed material. 

A good example of thrlftlness Is 
the salvage of cutting oils from ma- 
chine lathe turnings. Sometimes 
those steel or brass curlicues carry oil 
equaling as much as one-quarter of 
their total weight; and to produce 
dry turnings and salvage the oil for 
re-use, turnings are passed through 
centrifugal separators. By this proc- 
ess alone, the Hawthorne plant sal- 
vages 45,000 gallons of cutting oils 
annually. The disposal of such by- 
products comes under Nassau's guid- 

After preliminary sorting at fac- 

tories, distributing houses, and at 
telephone company locations, scrap Is 
carefully packed, labeled and shipped. 
As each truck or freight car rolls 
into the Nassau yards, sorters start 
grading the scrap Into classes which 
will best fit current demands. They 
can tell at a glance in what bin or 
barrel to throw each piece of scrap. 
When old metal is covered with dirt 
or corrosion, they may scrape the 
surface with a file or drill out samples 
for closer Identification. They detect 
the presence of ferrous metals with a 
magnet. With practiced hand and 
eye they quickly dismantle telephone 
and switchboard apparatus down to 
the last nut and bolt. 

Th^y put lead covered cable 
through stripping machines. They 
pile jumbled wires into a baling ma- 
chine and take out a compact cube 

1946-47 Nassau — The Bell System s Corjservaiion Specialist 


of almost solid metal which is com- 
paratively easy to handle. In fact, 
when dismantlers and sorters are 
through with a carload of junk at 
Nassau, it is marked and stored, 
ready for the furnace operators. 

The chief refining processes at 
Nassau — that is, "cooking" the 
sorted scrap in huge furnaces, kettles, 
and crucibles according to exact re- 
cipe, and molding it into smooth bil- 
lets, ingots, solder, and wire bars — 
provide a colorful show. They also 
provide a rare lesson in conservation. 

Governing all Nassau scrap opera- 
tions is the endeavor to preserve the 
purity of the various metals as long 
as possible and to extract every possi- 
ble use from them. The principle Is 
the same as that of a frugal board- 
ing-house landlady who cooks a roast 
for Sunday, serves cold cuts Monday, 
meat pie Tuesday, stew Wednesday, 
and hash on Thursday, with the dog 
finally getting the bone. Nassau 
scrap men, however, would salvage 
the borie. 

Carrying along that analogy, let us 
say that Nassau produces a quantity 
of copper having the highest prac- 
tical purky. From this a ringer coil 
for a telephone set may be made at a 
Western Electric factory. This coil 
goes into service and years later re- 
turns as scrap. The copper reclaimed 
from the coil will contain more im- 
purities than originally because of the 
addition of soldered terminals. This 
product can be refined economically, 
however, into material suitable for 
manufacture of power terminals. 
After serving its time In this form. It 
can again be refined to copper metal 
suitable for castings, and so on down 
the line through the various copper- 

base alloys. Finally It reaches the 
"hash" or slag stage, when it becomes 
so diluted with other elements that 
the cost of reclamation exceeds Its 
value. But Nassau men will still find 
a use for it. For Instance, they might 
sell It to an outside purchaser for 
making insulation material. If the 
slag Is not saleable, they dump It into 
nearby marshland owned by the com- 
pany, and thereby reclaim the marsh- 

The Chief Metallurgical Processes 

The chief metallurgical processes 
at Nassau fall into three general 
classifications: the white metals de- 
partment (tin and lead-base alloys) ; 
the red metals department (copper 
and copper-base alloys) ; and the zinc 
department. One of the most im- 
portant jobs right now Is reclaiming 
cable, because of the present scarcity 
of lead and copper. Let's take a 

Large cables, returned to Nassau 
after years of service In the Bell Sys- 
tem, go through the stripping ma- 
chine which cuts the sheathing, as a 
knife slices through a ripe melon, and 
separates the lead from the paper- 
Insulated copper wires. The very 
small cables go through "sweating" 
furnaces, where the temperature of 
the furnace Is adjusted so that the 
lead will run off and the copper re- 
main. The lead is then poured into 
big kettles and refined into material 
used for lead covering on new cable. 

Some of the older type of cable has 
a lead-tin alloy sheath. This lead 
sheathing Is fed Into a reverbertory 
(oil flame) furnace, where the tin Is 
separated from the lead. The tin- 
free lead is then kettle-refined, al- 
loyed with antimony, and used for 


Bell Telephone Magazine 


new cable cov'ering. The tin oxidized 
from this material goes into an elec- 
trical smelting furnace to be reduced 
to metal. This metal is refined into 
solder in huge 30-ton kettles. The 
dross or residue from the electric fur- 
nace is put into a reverbertory fur- 
nace and smelted down for use in 
copper-base products. 

Lead cable sleeving, which Nassau 
makes in many sizes and of several 
alloys, is a prime example of long 
range planning for efficiency in re- 
claiming Bell System scrap. Know- 
ing that each length of sleeving prob- 
ably will return to Nassau at some 
future time after serving in the Sys- 
tem, Nassau has long since "tagged" 
each piece of sleeving with a series of 
identifying ridges running length- 
wise. These ridges 
tell what alloy has 
been used; and when 
at some later time the 
sleeving returns to 
Nassau, a sorter 
merely runs his fingers 
over the ridges and 
sorts the pieces ac- 
cording to the com- 
position thus disclosed, 
and with a minimum 
of effort. 

One of the most ex- 
acting processes in the 
red metals department 
is the refining of cop- 
per and the casting of 
wire bars. The entire 
operation cycle takes 
24 hours to complete : 
eight hours for charg- 
ing the furnace with a 
hodgepodge of metals ; 
eight hours for refin- 
ing; eight hours for 

casting and for preparing the furnace 
for the next cycle. 

The refining is done in a reverber- 
tory furnace which seems large 
enough to roast a full-grown moose. 
Certainly it's hot enough and it 
growls as thougli in a constant rage. 
Oil under high pressure feeds this 
inferno at the rate of 150 gallons 
each 24 hours and generates heat of 
over 2000 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Like a chef anxiously watching his 
broth, an attendant wearing thick 
safety glasses and heavy fire-proof 
gloves periodically thrusts a long 
ladle into the molten mass and brings 
it out full of copper. By looking at 
the sample metal, the "chef" knows 
when it is right. To make doubly 
sure, however, he sends this sample 

hito the furnace ^0 these remnants of wor?i out telephones, 
and out will come brass billets 

1946-47 Nassau — The Bell System's Conservation Specialist 


"brew" to the Nassau laboratory, 
where it immediately undergoes a 
test. If it does not meet specifications 
exactly, the chemist calls the furnace 
man by telephone and tells him what 
adjustment to make. 

To meet Bell System standards, 
copper wire bars must contain a mini- 
mum of 99.93 percent copper. When 
this purity is assured by laboratory 
check, the molten metal is cast into 
bars weighing 250 pounds. 

In the casting of composition 
bronze ingots, molten liquid, looking 
like orange juice, is poured through 
four spouts from an immense ladle 
into moulds passing beneath on a con- 
veyor. Four moulds about the size 
of a bread pan proceed abreast on the 
conveyor. A workman tips the ladle 
and four golden streams fill the 
moulds. The ingots begin to change 
^ color immediately. After they travel 
a few feet, they are showered with 
water. In five minutes' time they 

change from a terrifically hot liquid 
into cool, solid ingots of bronze 
weighing 25 pounds each. 

"Mining" metals from the moun- 
tains of scrap material that flow into 
Nassau each year is as carefully con- 
trolled as the production of pri- 
mary metal. Nassau's inspectors, 
metallurgists, and chemists guard the 
qualitv of finished products. Noth- 
ing passes them until it meets the 
approved metallurgical standards. 
They check the scrap material before 
it goes into the furnaces; they control 
the refining operations to guarantee 
the proper composition of the prod- 
uct; and, finally, they test all finished 
products in accordance with the cus- 
tomer's specifications. 

In the chemical laboratory, all 
kinds of devices are used to keep 
operations going smoothly. There 
are usualh so many chemical opera- 
tions going on simultaneously that a 
system of automatic timers and bells 

Copper^ brass, lead, a)id even precious metals are recovered at Nassau 
through the refiyiing qualities of incandescent heat 


Bell Telephone Magazine 


is used. When a chem- 
ist affixes a "loaded" 
beaker over a burner, 
he sets the timer. 
When the desired time 
has elapsed, a bell 
rings. No guesswork 
here. Every minute 
counts. To save preci- 
ous time in handling 
hot beakers, the labo- 
ratory uses containers 
made of a special glass 
which can be raised to 
terrific heat and in- 
stantly cooled by wa- 
ter without shattering. 

No Interlude fro?n 

War to Peace 

In war and peace 

Nassau is jealous of 

time. With hardly 

the loss of a stride the 

Nassau plant changed 

over from tremendous 

war production to the 

mighty task of reclaiming scrap for whip up production of staple tele- 

the Bell System expansion program, phone raw materials like lead, solder, 

The 20-odd furnaces and dozens of copper wire bars, and ingots. The 

kettles and crucibles are still cooking output for the Bell System began to 

Reclamation and refining operations require careful 

laboratory analysis. Here a chemist tests a sample in 

Nassau^ s laboratory 

24 hours a day, often seven days a 

The voracious demands of war cut 
down the output for telephone use to 
a thin trickle. In 1944, Nassau sup- 
plied only 10 million pounds of "re- 
born" metal to the Bell System (as 
against 75 million pounds to foun- 
dries for war production) or about 
12 percent of the total output. Be- 
fore the war, Nassau had supplied an 
average of 50 to 60 percent of its 
total production to the System. 

As soon as victory was assured, 
Nassau began repairing, overhaul- 
ing, and reconverting furnaces to 

climb. At the end of the first two 
months of 1946, Nassau had supplied 
2,448,000 pounds of finished ma- 
terial for telephone manufacture, or 
about 33 percent of its total output. 
At the end of the seventh month the 
output for Bell System account had 
jumped to 47 percent: 19 million 
pounds of processed metals out of a 
total of 40,627,000. And week by 
week production for the System con- 
tinues to climb. 

The By-Products Organizatiofi 

Natural by-products of Bell Sys- 
tem operations from coast to coast 

1946-47 Nassau — The Bell System's Co}iservation Specialist 


A dozen streams of wire solder pour from 
solder press at the Nassau plant and 


include a long list of substances, from 
pinpoints of precious metals to loco- 
motives from the Manufacturer's 
Junction Railway which serves West- 
ern's Hawthorne Works. The list 
includes rubber, plastics in a hundred 
forms, all sorts of paper, typewriters, 
automobiles, cinders, and most other 
materials which the Bell System uses 
and discards In the course of its daily 

The disposal of this varied and 
miscellaneous scrap is the job of 
Nassau's by-products organization. 
The work of the by-products men is 
highly technical, involving a detailed 
knowledge of materials, markets, 
shipping, and scientific processes of 
reclamation. They work on the prin- 

ciple that there must 
be some use or pur- 
chaser for any scrap 
item, no matter how 
low it falls in the 
scale of market 

All replaced equip- 
ment in the factories 
of Western Electric 
or in telephone ex- 
changes is not nec- 
essarily scrap. A 
machine which is re- 
placed in one de- 
partment may be 
serviceable in an- 
other part of the 
plant. Nassau's rep- 
resentatives take over 
the disposal of all 
equipment and ma- 
chinery not usable by 
the Bell System. 

The field repre- 
sentatives of the by- 
products group serve 
as advance scouts and liaison men. 
They supervise the collecting, classi- 
fying and disposal of scrap in local 
areas. They watch local markets 
and report new developments to 
headquarters. They work closely 
with the scrap agents of the Bell tele- 
phone companies in terms of the sup- 
ply contracts which Western Electric 
maintains with each company. 

In the course of a day's business, 
one by-products man may arrange for 
the sale of impregnating compounds 
(composed of parafl'in and beeswax) 
to a processor for making industrial 
waxes. Another may find a pur- 
chaser for scrap fibre shearing, to be 
made into necktie pressers, insula- 
tors, washers, or toy parts. Still an- 

the pipes of this 
coil neatly into 


Bell Telephone Magazine 

other may be selling cork shavings to 
be processed into insulating material. 
Old telephone booths are in great de- 
mand for manufacture into high 
grade picture frames. 

In disposing of cast-off material, 
by-products men first try to find pur- 
chasers within the Bell System. If 
there are no bids from the System, 
they find outside purchasers. This 
method of procedure sounds simple 
enough. The execution of it, how- 
ever, demands highly specialized 
knowledge and resourcefulness. 

Toward Maximum Use 
As THE Bell System's team of ex- 
perts in conservation, Nassau sees a 
continuing and increasing challenge 

in the days ahead. To them the de- 
pletion of our nation's mineral re- 
sources places new emphasis on the 
necessity for eflicient salvage proced- 
ure. They see themselves as an ele- 
ment in the national program to con- 
serve the materials so vital to our 
economy. More specifically, the men 
and women at Nassau recognize their 
responsibility in speeding "reborn" 
raw materials into telephone produc- 
tion. Nassau is constantly devising 
new techniques and improving meth- 
ods for extracting the last bit of value 
from Bell System scrap and for chan- 
neling urgently needed metals back 
into service in the shortest time and 
with a minimum of loss. 

Reclaimed, refined, and molded into wire bars, copper by the ton at 
Nassau awaits shipment to Western Electric, where it will he draiv)i 

into copper wire 

Commercial Broadcasting Pioneer: The 
JVEAF Experiment, 1922-1926 

A Book Review 

WEAF IS NO MORE. The call letters 
which for nearly a quarter of a cen- 
tury designated a radio broadcasting 
station famous for its pioneering 
achievements ceased last November 
to have meaning. WNBC is the 
name now. But even as the old name 
goes down into history, we have to- 
day an excellent record of the years 
when the station was the experimen- 
tal radio broadcasting medium of the 
American Telephone and Telegraph 

This is the newly published "Com- 
mercial Broadcasting Pioneer: the 
WEAF Experiment, 1922-1926," 
by William Peck. Banning. In this 
fine work of research and interpreta- 
tion, the author has not onlv set forth 

the facts about the A. T. and T. 
Company's creation and operation of 
WEAF, but he has so displayed them 
against the contemporary scene that 
their social and economic as well as 
their technical importance becomes 

The author, as many who will 
read the book already know, was a 
member of the A. T. & T. Com- 
pany Information Department for 
24 years, and for 17 of those years 
before his retirement in 1944 he 
served as an assistant vice president. 
He was a keen observer of many of 
the events he describes and was ac- 
quainted with many of the principal 
figures concerned in the rapidly ex- 
panding enterprise. Personal recol- 

William P. Banning 
at work on the manu- 
script of ''The WEAF 
Experiment'^ at his 
home shortly after his 
retirement from the 
A. T. & T. Company 
in ig44 


Bell Telephone Magazine 

lection thus aided the exhaustive in- 
quiry which makes the book an au- 
thoritative document. 

It is Mr. Banning's conckision that 
the A. T. & T. Company's four-year 
experiment with WEAF aided the 
development of radio broadcasting 
in three unique, constructive, and im- 
portant ways. 

The first of these, he believes, was 
in the scientific and technological 
field. Basic contributions here were 
to be expected from an organiza- 
tion which had transmitted one-way 
speech through the ether to Paris 
and Honolulu as early as 191 5. 
Among them was the establishment 
of network broadcasting. 

The second, the author feels, was 
the emphasis on a high standard of 
radio programs. 

The third was the determination 
of the means whereby radio broad- 
casting could support itself: "toll 
broadcasting," as it was first termed. 
This concept of making broadcasting 
facilities available by selling time on 
the air was the contribution of A. T. 
& T. President Walter S. Gifford — 
then executive vice president — and 
set the pattern for broadcasting as 
we know it today. 

"The experiment was continued 
. . . until its animating idea had 
been proved," says Mr. Banning in 
his Author's Preface. "When it was 
over, and Station WEAF passed to 
new ownership, public hospitality to 
broadcasts of every type had been 
tested, network broadcasting had 
been established, and the economic 
basis upon which nationwide broad- 
casting now rests had been founded. 
A trail had been blazed that there- 
after could be followed without hesi- 
tation. A self-imposed service of in- 

vestigation had answered the ques- 
tion, 'Quo vadis, radio?' " 

Mr. Banning has avowedly writ- 
ten "for the record" and in order 
that telephone people throughout the 
Bell System may have access to a sig- 
nificant chapter of communications 
history — a chapter which is little 
known to a younger generation while 
it fades from the memory of those 
who knew of or participated in events 
as they happened. His book will be 
of special interest to all who had any 
connection, direct or indirect, with 
the creation and early operation of 
WEAF; to others who want to know 
or to be reminded of how radio got 
to be what it now is; and perhaps to 
yet others who have a nostalgic fond- 
ness for the days when radio was a 
new magic and commercials were not 

Mr. Banning's book includes the 
era during which WEAF first 
brought to millions of delighted 
listeners such radio favorites as 
Graham McNamee, Roxy and his 
Capital Theatre gang, Billy Jones 
and Ernie Hare — the Happiness 
Boys, the A. & P. Gypsies, the dance 
music from the Rose Room of the 
Waldorf, and many another. It ends 
with the sale of WEAF in 1926 — 
the logical sequel to the A. T. & 
T. Company's conclusion that radio 
broadcasting was a one-way service 
in the entertainment field and there- 
fore not compatible with its princi- 
pal business of furnishing the nation 
with two-way communications service. 

J. S. B. 

Commercial Broadcasting Pioneer : The WEAF 
Experiment, 1922-1926. William P. Banning. 
The Harvard University Press: Publication of 
the Business Historical Society, xxxiv + 294 
pages + index. 6 charts, 2 tables, 30 illustra- 
tions. $3.50.